Title:
Provision of services for the implementation of marine litter monitoring programs in the Republic of Cyprus (Tender #01/2023, DFMR)

Duration:
5 years (November 2023 – December 2028)

Funded by:
Project co-financed by the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and by national resources through the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (Republic of Cyprus)

Project partners:
University of Patras

Project Description:
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (2008/56/EC) aims to protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity, assisting EU countries in achieving Good Environmental Status (GES). Central to this directive are 11 descriptors, with Descriptor 10 focusing on Marine Litter.

This 5-year project, conducted by MER Lab in collaboration with the University of Patras, targets MSFD Descriptor 10 through data collection from the coastal areas of Cyprus. The project aligns with official EU Protocols and seeks to engage the public in addressing marine litter issues.

The following activities will be carried out:

  1. Sampling of marine litter and microplastics: Systematic sampling on beaches and seafloors (depth <20m) to assess the distribution and types of marine litter.
  2. Analyses of marine litter and microplastics: Detailed examination of collected samples from beaches and seafloors to categorize and quantify litter and microplastics.
  3. Analyses of floating microplastics: Processing of marine surface samples provided by DFMR, to understand the prevalence of microplastics in the marine environment.
  4. Analyses of marine litter in dead turtles: Investigating the impact of marine litter on marine fauna through necropsis and the study of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of dead turtles.
  5. Chemical characterization of microplastics: Identifying and analyzing chemicals adsorbed on microplastics, focusing on hydrocarbons and PAHs, to gauge potential ecological risks.
  6. Statistical data processing and analyses: Employing robust statistical methods to interpret the collected data, aiding in policy formulation and marine conservation strategies.
  7. Implementation of the “Adopt a Beach” Guide: Coordinating to the information, raise awareness and active participation of the public on the problem of marine litter. The implementation of the action is based on the “Adopt a beach” mechanism for citizens’ awareness and monitoring of marine litter created by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/MAP).
  8. Scientific publications and videos: At least two manuscripts will be submitted in peer-reviewed journals and 11 short videos will be produced for the awareness of the general public, focusing on the use of standardized protocols and on the impact of marine litter.