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Monitoring of marine litter

Project promoter: Environmental Protection Agency
Project title: Monitoring of marine litter
Project code: LT05-1-AM-TF-004
Project eligible expenditure: EUR 266 629,00  (EUR 226 634,47 grant from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and EUR 39 994,53 budget co-financing)
Project signature date: 7 August 2020
Project implementation period: 7 August 2020 - 7 August 2022

Lithuania up to now has no official monitoring program for marine litter. The assessment of the current status of marine litter relies on the coastline and seabed surveys. The Klaipeda University has implemented several projects which addressed litter on the coast and that floating in water. Nevertheless, there is still no representative knowledge on marine litter, including microplastics, in the water column and the seabed sediment. One has to fill the knowledge gaps on properties, quantities and possibly pollution routes of litter from their sources to the Baltic Sea.
The objective of the project is to develop methodological guidelines for marine litter, including microlitter, monitoring and carry out evaluations and assessments based on the methodologies prepared through the project.
The project includes:
  • At least 3 methodologies for qualitative and quantitative evaluation of marine litter including microplastics in water column, sediments and transitional waters zones will be developed.  These would also include identification of the sources of the litter;
  • Using the above-mentioned methodologies, baseline data on actual amounts of the macro- and micro-litter emission to the Baltic Sea from sources on Lithuanian soil will be assembled;
  • At least 7 different entry pathways of litter from Lithuanian coast will be investigated: 4 wastewater treatment plants, 2 surface wastewater systems and 1 surface water body.
Project benefit
The expected outcome of the project is to create capacity at Environmental Protection Agency to identify and monitor environmental pressures caused by marine litter, including microplastics. The methodologies of mapping and monitoring of the microplastics and other marine litter would serve as a basis for creation of a database that would permit to compare and analyse data, to forecast the trends and enable scientifically-based decision making on response measures. It is expected that project will serve as a basis for inclusion of marine litter monitoring into the National Environmental Monitoring Programme.
The project forms an important of the Lithuanian government's efforts for compliance with the EU Marine Strategic Framework Directive. The project will contribute to an increased understanding of the ecological consequences of marine littering in Lithuanian waters as well as their sources and location.
Target groups of the project:  Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania.

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