ETC-UMA issues new report on the impacts of litter on Mediterranean marine species

On the occasion of the workshop organized by IUCN and Région Sud in collaboration with its CPMR partner, the ETC-UMA Director, Dania Abdul Malak is presenting today 1 April 2022 a highlight on the wide range of actions required to fight marine litter and its impacts in the Mediterranean region. The call for action builds on the recent assessment on the impacts that marine litter over Mediterranean emblematic species like turtles, whales and seals.

The workshop has been organised to call on Mediterranean regions to fight against plastic pollution by building concrete projects with an integrated approach. The MedBioLitter database of scientific articles on this topic, hosted and updated twice a year by ETC-UMA in the frame of the Interreg Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community project, provides a solid knowledge base for various spatial analyses and to obtain statistical information at regional level.

The results presented in this report are part of a Mediterranean wide assessment using peer reviewed articles on the impacts of marine litter on marine biota in the Mediterranean region. The knowledge base used for this assessment is MedBiolitter, version 8 (updated in March 2022). It includes 904 records or registries on litter interactions with 183 marine species, categorised under 14 taxonomic groups, 92% of which (168 marine species) are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened species. In addition to the report, an online interactive dashboard makes all the data supporting the report publicly available to help monitor trends and priority areas and species in need of urgent action.

“One of the key conclusions after this analysis is that the level of information across the Mediterranean is unbalanced and that we need more research to really understand the impacts that marine litter and pollution in general are having on our environment and our species” commented Dania Abdul Malak. “We cannot talk anymore about entanglement or ingestion only; scientific evidence is now showing that microplastics can now be found even in our blood”.


Marine mega fauna and litter in the Mediterranean: Overview of impacts in MedBioLitter


ETC-UMA will be communicating the recommendations of this analysis during the II International Forum on Marine litter and Circular Economy – MARLICE 2022 to be held in Seville, Spain in May 2022 during a roundtable session organized in collaboration with the UNEP MAP SCP RAC and the support of Fundación Biodiversidad and during the debate on the challenges of communicating science towards transformative changes.

To strengthen collaboration across the region and provide knowledge and solutions to tackle pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change, in January 2022 ETC-UMA received the official communication of endorsement of accreditation as UNEP MAP Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) Partner by the 22nd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols held in Turkey in December 2021.

More about ETC-UMA and its work on pressures

More about the Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community and marine litter