COMMON project to protect the Mediterranean

Integrated response to problem of plastic in sea

20 December, 17:24

    'Monastir' 'Monastir'

    TUNIS - A project called the Coastal Management and Monitoring Network for Tackling Marine Litter in the Mediterranean Sea (COMMON) aims to build a network of collaboration between Italy, Tunisia, and Lebanon to facilitate the reduction of marine waste.
    The project is financed by the EU through the ENI CBC MED programme, with 2.2 million euros presented on Thursday in Monastir.
    The Italian environmental association Legambiente is heading the project, along with the University of Siena, the Tunis National Institute of Sea Sciences and Technologies, the Agronomic Institute of Bari, the Lebanese NGO Amwaj of the Environment, the University of Sousse, and the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve in Lebanon.
    The project aims to plan the use and monitoring of resources by using an effective participatory approach that involves all interested parties and local communities.
    This new model could potentially be used across the entire Mediterranean basin.
    The specific objective is the reduction of marine waste using the principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in five pilot areas: two in Italy (Maremma and Puglia), two in Tunisia (the Kuriat Islands and Monastir), and one in Lebanon (the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve).
    COMMON will not limit itself to information transfer, but will also develop training activities aimed at local and regional authorities, marine protected areas, sea turtle recovery centres, and citizens in general.
    It will launch awareness campaigns and networking projects, and it will involve communities and local businesses in the integration of management and disposal of marine waste.
    A recent Tunisian report showed for the first time a high level of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tracts and muscles of fish, including those destined for human consumption.
    One of the main ambitions of the COMMON project is to manage a permanent network of coordination points for sea turtle recovery centres.
    In addition, on the basis of European directives aimed at reducing single-use plastic, the project plans to encourage and promote a ban on plastic bags across the Mediterranean basin.
    Lebanon and Tunisia are facing great difficulty in waste collection and management.
    Despite the fact that they are not large producers of plastic, their consumption of plastic is very high and recycling does not exceed 4% of the total.
    It is estimated that of all the plastic present in the Mediterranean, 10,000 tons come from Tunisia, and 40,000 from Italy.

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