Microplastics range in size from 1 μm to 5 mm, are ubiquitous in the Mediterranean and a fast growing environmental and health concern. They can be of primary or secondary origin. The revised Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean defines primary microplastics as: “tiny particles designed for direct commercial use (such as cosmetics, detergents and paints components), or for indirect use (such as pre-production pellets)”, while secondary microplastics result “from the breakdown of larger plastic items into numerous tiny fragments due to mechanical forces and/or photochemical processes”.

The EU funded WES project has committed to provide technical assistance and strengthen the capacities of the WES Partner Countries to effectively address the issue of microplastics in the Mediterranean marine environment. In line with this commitment, a Regional Training began on the 12th of May 2022 to enhance the competences of the trainees on technical aspects of microplastics (definitions, types, pathways, impact, etc.); monitoring approaches and knowledge gaps; links between microplastics and chemical pollution; the pros/cons of potential measures; policy options and decision-making based on sound scientific evidence.

More than 60 stakeholders from 10 Mediterranean countries are participating in the on-line training that will be delivered via 3 modules (approx. 3 hours each; 9 hours in total):

Thursday 12 May 2022

Module 1: Understanding the issue of microplastics in the marine environment: amounts, types, sources, effects and monitoring approaches.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Module 2: Understanding the issue of primary microplastics: impacts, existing measures and the way forward.

Thursday 2 June 2022

Module 3: Understanding the issue of secondary microplastics: impacts, existing measures and the way forward.

This Regional Training originated from a request emanating from the Barcelona Convention Focal Points that expressed their wish to understand better the emerging issue of microplastics, their state of knowledge and which kind of action should be taken. At the same time, tackling pollution from plastics and marine litter (including microplastics) is at the core of the UfM’s 2030 GreenerMed Agenda and its three priority axes of work: Support the transition to a green, circular and socially inclusive economy; Prevent and reduce pollution on land, air and sea; Protect, preserve, manage and restore natural resources in the Mediterranean region within an integrated, ecosystem-based approach, including terrestrial, marine and coastal dimensions.