Projects comprising clean up actions, both at beaches and sea, collected around 8.700 kg of waste, out of which 3.700 kg was plastic. For example, the Skopelos Dive Center collected nearly 1.500 kg of plastic waste through dedicated immersions in Sporades islands, Greece, which have been later recycled.
Thus, the projects engaged with more than 200 businesses to advance in the abatement of plastic pollution, particularly with the hospitality sector and cruises. In the case of Plastic Free Balearics, 67 businesses have been certified as “plastic-free”.
In relation to single-use plastic products, 6 projects have researched potential alternatives in their territories. 150 alternatives have been found and promoted throughout the activities, and it is estimated that the work with businesses has prevented nearly 13.000 kg of plastic waste. For example, SMILO researched alternatives using local giant reed, and distributed 35,000 cutlery items to shopkeepers in Hyères islands, south France.
Video: PLASTIC-FREE ISLANDS (France)| SMILO
Some projects have also worked closely with public authorities, especially municipalities. In Tunisia, Albania and Croatia city councils adopted 9 legal texts limiting the use of disposable plastics and enhancing waste management. The Municipalities of Stari Grad and Sali (Croatia) have proven great commitment and ambition. After the adoption of municipal decisions, public events under municipal licence are required to include important limitations on single-use plastics and waste management.
Three projects have worked in improving and accessing waste management infrastructure in islands. In Djerba, Tunisia, 48 collection facilities have been set up in public spaces and shops to collect plastic and cardboard. Nearly 3.000 families have access now to infrastructure resulting in the segregated collection of 4.000 kg of waste.
Overall, projects have mobilised a great number of stakeholders to raise awareness, build consensus and implement actions in the field. More than 100 meetings took place, gathering 2,276 individuals.
Through the capitalisation process, projects have gained visibility and their results shared in 7 capitalisation events and other communication means. Concerning impact on policies, a policy brief was produced at the occasion of the COP22 of the Barcelona Convention, highlighting the contribution of the community to the achievements of targets set in the updated Regional Marine Litter Regional Plan. The results and lessons learnt were presented in an official meeting of the Convention and participants welcomed the contribution from the BeMed-Island community, and recommended their results and tools for capacity building and peer-to-peer learning.
In May 2022, the community took part in discussions at a major international event dedicated to the fight against marine litter and plastic pollution (MARLICE), held in Seville, bringing together experts, civil society, researchers, policy makers and marine litter practitioners.
Coming back together with the Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community (MBPC), the BeMed Islands Community shared transferable practices from several initiatives ongoing in the region. The session took stock of the latest advances on understanding the impacts and ways of monitoring marine litter, and unveiled pioneer actions in coastal areas and islands to help monitor and prevent marine litter generation, including policy, research and field actions in the HORECA sector, market restrictions by public authorities, sea-based sources and waste management schemes.
The session left us with important messages: