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Project: AS-MADE: Assessment of Marine Debris on the Belgian Continental Shelf: occurrence and effects

01/07/09 – 30/06/11

The overall aims of the present project are: 1) To study the presence of marine debris (including the break-down/degradation products, e.g. microplastics) in the Belgian marine environment, based on the available literature data and on dedicated quantitative monitoring surveys of the seabed, the sea-surface and the beach, 2) To assess the effects of this debris (including possible associated micro-contaminants) on selected marine species(invertebrates and birds), 3) To evaluate the financial impact of this form of pollution (removal vs prevention), 4) To develop and evaluate science-based policy evaluation tools. This research project will: 1) Develop an integrated database (based on al exisiting and newly acquired data) with quantitative information on the presence of marine debris in the various (Belgian) marine compartments, 2) Provide detailed data on the occurrence and distribution of marine debris - including microplastics - int the Belgian marine environment, 3) through simultaneous monitoring of macro- and microlitter, in different compartments of the marine ecosystem, offer a complete quantitative picture of the problem of marine debris in the Belgian coastal zone. This analysis will allow to assess the financial aspects of marine debris removal and thus lead to the proposal of science-based policy tools to evaluate and potentially remediate the problem