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Reducing Marine Litter – Libera il Mare

Through a range of scientific, operational and awareness activities, TAP’s marine litter programme aims to reduce marine litter on an approximately 30 km stretch of the Adriatic coast (municipalities of Vernole, Lecce and Melendugno). The project is developed with CoNISMa (the National Interuniversity Consortium for Marine Sciences) via its Research Unit in the Lecce area (part of the University of Salento). The preliminary study phase, which TAP supported with a € 50.000 investment, was conducted between February and July 2017. The multi-year programme, with an envisaged investment amounting to more than € 800.000, is currently under development. 

The programme’s overarching goal is to reduce marine litter as well as mitigate the threats to marine ecosystems.


Local fishermen, tourism entrepreneurs, members of the Melendugno community and tourists who choose Melendugno as their holiday destination will benefit most from the Marine Litter programme.

The general focus is to:

  • Build knowledge of marine debris patterns through targeted research.
  • Increase marine debris awareness through environmental management awareness campaigns and stakeholder involvement. 
  • Survey and - at a later stage - remove marine litter from beaches, rocky coast and seafloor.
  • Support long-term marine litter management by preparing guidelines for local authorities and relevant stakeholders.

TAP and its partner carried out the programme’s preliminary phase over the first half of 2017. This first

€800,000 investment

step aimed to assess marine litter present in the project area. The results of the qualitative and quantitative surveys provided an estimate of the amount of marine litter, and its approximate weight. This pilot study acts as the starting point for planning appropriate marine debris monitoring programmes in the upcoming years.

The preliminary phase also included an awareness campaign in local schools. During interactive classes, 320 children received information about the marine environment and threats caused by marine pollution. Students also learned about the importance of preventing marine litter. Special gadgets and information materials were also delivered to the classes.