News: Europe adopts a threshold value for marine litter on coastlines and steps up its efforts towards litter-free coasts and seas

Today, the European Commision published a threshold value for marine litter on coastlines, paving the way for litter-free coasts and seas. EU Member States' experts have unanimously agreed that a beach will need to have less than 20 litter items for every 100 metres of coastline to stay under the threshold and reach good environmental status. One item of "beach litter" is defined as any discarded item found on the beach over 2.5 centimetres in length.

With this new fixed threshold value, EU countries have now a tangible objective for all beaches. However, reaching the threshold is not an easy task, as according to the dataset used for setting the threshold, 85% of Europe's beaches currrently have 20 or more items of litter for every 100 metres of coastline.

Indicatively, in 2015 and 2016, the average beach litter quantity for all European beaches was 150 litter items per 100m, with different averages in different regions:

  • 40 items per 100m around the Baltic Sea;
  • 106 items per 100m around the Black Sea;
  • 233 items per 100 around the North East Atlantic and North Sea;
  • 274 items per 100m around the Mediterranean Sea

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The threshold value report is available at the following link:

News Posted on 22/10/2020