The research task aims to collect and integrate all the available data on marine debris in the Belgian Marine Environment into one multi-purpose and user-friendly database. Existing datasets (e.g. Coastwatch & OSPAR) and data originating from volunteer projects (e.g. Fishing for litter & Lenteprikkel) will be integrated in the database. new datasets (collection of marine debris at the  Belgian coast and observations at sea) will be created by the University of Ghent. 


kustlijn_aanspoelselsData will be provided on the concentrations of important micro pollutants potentially adsorbed to (micro)plastics. Laboratory experiments will show whether bio-transfer of these adsorbed pollutants from (ingested) plastics to marine organisms is possible. This could be of great importance for marine risk assessment as floating marine debris can drift far away from the shore and could thus translocate part of the pollution from close to the mainland (e.g. from within heavily polluted harbours) to ecosystems far into the ocean.


The project will produce detailed data on the occurrence and distribution of macro- and micro-debris in the Belgian marine environment, and on the effects of both types of debris on marine organisms (especially on invertebrates and birds). The combination of both datasets will allow for a detailed assessment of the risks of marine debris on our marine environment.