Environment, Sustainable Development and Circular Economy

Producing Energy from Marine litter to protect and safeguard the Mediterranean Sea

Project Description

The project proposal aims to identify and disseminate best practices for the removal of marine litter (ML) and use it in the recycle systems and to produce new green energy. The final purpose is the implementation and development of new technology systems to reuse ML in order to create green energy from it in support of coastal communities. Aim of the project also mitigates the ML pollution to maintain marine biodiversity and ecological conservation status at the Mediterranean scale. To achieve these goals will involve the local operators of the fishing sector (fisherman), currently the most efficient capacity-tool to recover the ML. This will be expected in each location where the project will develop. This will make it possible to know the territorial realities in which to carry out the actions of the project and to be able to make a timely assessment of the impact, with a view to designating targeted actions. Fishermen are in fact the greatest resource for taking care of the sea and can become agents of change, guardians of the sea and symbols of a sustainable future. To ensure greater effectiveness and optimization of the resources involved, a specific design of the intervention will be carried out through the creation of a grid on marine areas with a depth between 10 and 900 meters, on which to perform a simultaneous eradication of the ML with the intervention of all Mediterranean fishing fleets involved. The use of specific instrumentation and various technologies is also envisaged, such as side-scan sonar for actions on the seabed, localization on a waste map based on interviews with fishermen and localization systems regarding lost networks. On the boats involved, the recovered material will be stored on board, with new technical supports that will develop in the project, and the ML collected transferred to the port areas involved. The material will then be selected and destined for recycling or energy production. The plastic fraction will be used to produce energy through the implementation of plasmix recycling technology. The amount of energy produced could also support local coastal communities. This project could reinforce blue economic growth in the view of the sustainability of the resource and circular economy way.

On the boats involved, the recovered material will be stored on board, with new technical supports that will develop in the project, and the ML collected transferred to the port areas involved. The material will then be selected and destined for recycling or energy production. The plastic fraction will be used to produce energy through the implementation of plasmix recycling technology. The amount of energy produced could also support local coastal communities.

This project could reinforce blue economic growth in the view of the sustainability of the resource and circular economy way.

 

Objectives

The project proposal aims to identify and disseminate best practices for the removal of marine litter (ML) and use it in the recycle systems and to produce new green energy. In order to preserve the marine ecosystem, its marine biodiversity, and guarantee energy support to the coastal communities at Regional scale. The project wants to simultaneously mitigate the effects of ML on marine ecosystems and carry on a process to produce green energy from it, in support of the sustainability of human life.

The design is divided into three main phases related to ML :

  • Mitigation;
  • Recovery;
  • Recycling and Energy Production.

 

Mediterranean ambition

Today, almost 400 million tons of plastic are produced each year globally, 53 kg per inhabitant of the planet. Only just over 20% of plastic is recycled or incinerated, much of it ends its life at sea. More than 150 million tonnes of plastic are already present in the seas today. 570 thousand tons end up every year in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea only. And the problem is set to get worse: if the spillage of plastic waste is not stopped, by 2050 there will be more plastics in the oceans than fish.

In Italy, we have “touched the bottom” with waste : as a result of many factors, including winds and currents, over 70% of Mediterranean marine waste has ended up on the Italian seabed and 75% of this waste is plastic. The Sicilian sea confirms its position among the largest underwater landfills in the country, followed by Sardinia. The highest concentrations of waste on the rocky seabed are found in the Ligurian Sea, the Gulf of Naples and along the Sicilian coast. The situation of the seabed in the Adriatic-Ionian region is alarming: the average amount of waste found exceeds 300 waste per km2, of which 86% is plastic, especially disposable (77%). Industrial and food packaging, plastic bags/shoppers and bottles, including nets for mussel, are the most common waste.

Creating large, medium and small-scale operations for the removal of marine solid waste is a commitment that the Parties undertake with the Sea.

The project will implement facilities to work in close connection to marine ecosystems and blue growth needs. It will support the integration and the implementation of new technologies, and support the actions already in place to expand activities at the regional scale, in relation with the countries of the southern shore and those of the northern shore of the Mediterranean. It also will allow a direct link with other networks and will serve as an opportunity implement capacity building. This will favour the integration of services to the coastal community of the Mediterranean countries involved in the Dialogue 5+5.

Countries involved : Italy, Tunisia, Malta

Project life

Key Figures
9M €

Research Cost

Project Leader

FEDERPESCA, the Italian Fishing Industry Association

Main Contact
Luigi GIANNINI
See all project contacts

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