Bringing the Ocean to Society
28 Mar 2019
New maps show the extent of marine litter in European seas
EMODnet launches new digital maps of beach and seafloor litter, providing a comprehensive information tool for marine policy and wider society.

Increasing concentrations of plastic in our environment are a growing threat to ecosystems and human health. Plastic has been detected in nearly all marine life – from whales to molluscs. In order to fight this threat, there have been calls in international fora such as G7, G20 and the United Nations to bring the many measurements and observations together to create a complete picture. Europe is now leading the way. Authorities and the wider society now have a new tool to help track, map and identify where litter ends up in our seas and oceans and check how it is affecting ocean health.

The production of the EMODnet maps is based on data from hundreds of data providers and monitoring efforts to gather marine litter information scattered over Europe. The maps show, among others, the spatial and temporal distribution of beach and seafloor litter based on official monitoring surveys and wider sampling efforts across European countries. The types of litter are also identified, from plastics to glass, wood and metal, and from fishing related items to land-based products such as cigarettes. 

Discover the EMODnet marine litter maps