Marine LitterWatch in a nutshell

Article Published 23 Mar 2015 Last modified 27 Feb 2023
2 min read
Photo: © Radovan Pondelik (Environment & Me /EEA)
This page was archived on 27 Feb 2023 with reason: Content is outdated
Litter, plastics in particular, is accumulating in our seas and coasts. Information and data on marine litter is essential for tackling it. The European Environment Agency has developed Marine LitterWatch to strengthen Europe’s knowledge base and thus provide support to European policy making.


Litter, accumulating in our seas and coasts is impacting marine ecosystems, causing problems to human activities that use and depend on the sea and raising human health concerns. European Member States are developing measures to tackle marine litter with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive but the information base is still insufficient. Marine LitterWatch aims to empower citizen communities to provide relevant data while creating more awareness at the local level on marine litter.

The European Environment Agency developed Marine LitterWatch, which combines citizen engagement and modern technology to help tackle marine litter. Marine LitterWatch offers tools – a progressive web app, a web portal and a public database - to collect and share comparable data on marine litter on beaches. It also provides a platform for marine litter communities to come together, share their knowledge and co-create approaches to monitoring marine litter.

The Marine LitterWatch app works on both smartphones and desktop computers.


Marine LitterWatch was designed to support data collection events on beaches and other stretches of coast. Although litter at sea or in rivers is crucial to monitor, Marine LitterWatch doesn´t currently support such activities.


Marine LitterWatch builds on three key elements: organised groups (the 'communities'), a mobile application, and a database. Communities organize either clean-up or monitoring events on beaches and make surveys with the mobile app to report on litter items found. A web portal is also available for the communities to more easily manage their events and data. The app uses a European harmonized list of items agreed within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The data is available through EEA´s website.


The EEA is working together with many existing communities working on marine litter from all regional seas in Europe. Marine LitterWatch also aims to inspire new communities to form. These can range from NGOs, business and industry, coastal communities (e.g. local sports club, scouts), schools and universities, expert communities (i.e. science and research) to public authorities and other. The current community list can be found here.


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