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Clean Sea Life: an awareness raising program on marine litter uniting all marine enthusiasts in Italy – divers, yachtsmen, fishermen, beach goers, students and citizen – in the protection of the Mediterranean sea.

Even the most remote corner of the Mediterranean sea is flooded with litter, material that was discarded, abandoned or lost at sea. Plastic bottles, bags and increasing quantities of confetti-like fragments, generated by degrading plastic objects, make up 80% of marine litter in the Mediterranean sea. Illegal dumps, river output and sewage overflow, as well as tourist activities are the main sources of marine litter in the area. Shipping and professional fishing contribute to 20% of marine litter in the Mediterranean sea.

For the next four years, the Clean Sea Life project (LIFE15 GIE/IT/000999) will involve the ‘users of the sea’ in an extraordinary effort to clean up the Italian coasts and sea floor. Clubs, schools and associations will be invited to ‘adopt’ an area, conduct regular clean-ups and adopt simple habits that prevent further littering of the sea. Take the pledge and get involved!

Clean Sea Life will involve also professional fishermen in ‘fishing for litter’ activities. This project will also contribute to the knowledge base of this problem, identifying areas most affected by marine litter and in need of remediation actions. With input from local authorities and operators, Clean Sea Life will also identify and disseminate the best management practices, promoting shared guidelines on a national and Mediterranean level.

Partner of the Clean Sea Life project, supported by the EU LIFE programme., are Parco Nazionale dell’Asinara (beneficiary), CoNISMa, Fondazione Cetacea, Legambiente, MedSharks and MPNetwork.

The Clean Sea Life awareness campaign aims at a concrete and short-term goal – recovering quantities of marine litter – and a long-term goal, which is to induce all sea lovers to get actively involved in the protection of the sea during their activities.

The specific objectives are:

    • To increase awareness of marine litter, empowering citizens to become part of the solution
    • To remove existing litter, including lost fishing gear, and prevent further littering
    • To promote “fishing for litter” initiatives and to train fishing industry professionals in responsible practices
    • To provide guidelines for the management of marine litter, increase exchange of knowledge, the uptake of best practices and assist authorities in achieving a Good Environmental Status of the sea, as required under the MSFD.

Expected results: The project expects to reach 300,000 people, having the code of conduct signed by 20,000, and ensuring that some 600 diving teachers and school teachers highlight the problem in their lessons curriculum.
The legacy of the Clean Sea Life project, beyond an increased awareness on marine litter and the necessity to adopt a more responsible behaviour, will be two practical tools: a map of critical areas impacted by marine litter, for mitigation measures, and guidelines for the management of marine litter that will be actively disseminated to regional and local stakeholders

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