About us


The need for a CleanSea

Marine litter is a threat to Europe’s marine ecosystems. It is a major societal challenge because it impacts the vast natural marine capital that supports economies, societies and individual well being. Marine litter, of which plastic is a main component, is explicitly identified as a descriptor for determining Good Environmental Status (GES) under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Europe aims to achieve GES by 2020 and CleanSea – the first European framework program research project dedicated to the marine litter issue – is providing key scientific knowledge and tools for marine litter monitoring and action plans.

Our goal and objectives

CleanSea is a multidisciplinary and collaborative research project addressing marine litter from different perspectives. It aims at providing Member States and other stakeholders with improved knowledge, methods and tools to be able to better define, monitor and achieve a marine environment free of harmful litter levels. In doing so, it will deliver a transparent and useful guidance to policy makers and stakeholders dealing with marine litter mitigation by:

  • providing comprehensive characterization and analysis of the marine litter problem (biological, chemical, social, economic, legislative and policy-oriented) in the EU’s four main marine regions
  • proposing innovative monitoring tools and standard protocols to facilitate monitoring marine litter in a harmonized way
  • presenting cost-effective management measures and policy options to meet MSFD and other international objectives regarding marine litter.

The result 

A Roadmap to Good Environmental Status for Marine Litter derived from a transparent, coherent synthesis of natural and social science research outcomes and stakeholder input.

How to get there?

CleanSea aims to break down interdisciplinary barriers by synthesizing data and knowledge generated across its 5 research and development work packages, and uses an integrated framework to construct a Road Map for European marine litter reduction. Advanced techniques in the fields of (eco)toxicology, analytical chemistry, satellite imaging, oceanographic modelling, marine monitoring and materials biodegradation testing will be used to assess the distribution, fate and impacts of marine litter. Economic, institutional and policy analysis research methods, tools and participatory approaches will be applied to identify economic, social and governance barriers to GES, and recommend effective policy options and management measures to remove these barriers and incentivize sustainable use of marine resources.


Who is up to this challenge?

4 universities, 5 research institutes, 6 SMEs, 1 NGO and a network of coastal municipalities from 11 member states make up the CleanSea Consortium An Advisory Board of 5 experts worldwide will assess and review key elements and results of the project.

CleanSea Stakeholder Platform

Policy makers, MSFD implementers, business people, scientists, industries, and civil society will be part of the broad spectrum of stakeholders from across Europe who will be consulted by the CleanSea consortium though various channels. CleanSea is looking forward to hearing from you!