About CleanAtlantic Knowledge Tool

The CleanAtlantic Knowledge Tool

The CleanAtlantic Knowledge Tool is an online repository that compiles marine research and technical resources specifically focused on marine litter sources, impacts, monitoring and on prevention and mitigation measures.

Resources included in this database were obtained from two main types of sources:

  • EU and national research and cooperation projects addressing marine litter
  • Key organisations at international, European and national level, with activities fully- or partially-dedicated to marine litter

The information provided by this online database can be accessed by using tailor-made search engines that help browsing the list of projects and organisations reviewed during the collection process (click on “Projects” or on “Organisations”) or selecting the resources of interest from a list of more than 600 records (click on “Resources").

The development of the CleanAtlantic Knowledge tool and database was based on the structure, design and development of the MARINER Knowledge Tool, delivered by CETMAR in the frame of MARINER project. This tool provides a user-friendly access to an inventory of HNS preparedness and response resources generated in the frame of research projects or by specialised organisations. The structure and design of the MARINER database and online interface were used as a starting point to create an online database that would suit the CleanAtlantic needs in terms of displaying a significant and representative sample of the existing knowledge available on marine litter issues, and facilitate its access to interested users.

Background and objectives

There is a wealth of European and national R&D projects that have focused its activity on marine litter issues, however their research outputs are often dispersed and not easily accessible. Moreover, there is a number of specialised organisations that have developed useful resources and guidance in this matter too. The CleanAtlantic Knowledge Tool intends to address this issue by identifying existing knowledge and resources and providing user-friendly access to this information.

CleanAtlantic aims at improving the availability and dissemination of existing knowledge to strengthen our capabilities to monitor, prevent and remove marine litter. The CleanAtlantic Knowledge Tool allows users to search for relevant knowledge and resources by major themes related with marine litter (waste management and prevention, monitoring, modelling, awareness, Fishing for Litter, training, etc), by organisations, projects, type of resource, and funding source. Through a combination of simple and advanced queries, users can have direct access to resources or when appropriate, to the author’s website.

Taking into account that the universe of R&D projects and organisations that are tackling marine litter issues is extremely broad, the CleanAtlantic Knowledge tool aims at showing a significant, but not fully comprehensive picture of the knowledge produced at European and national level in the CleanAtlantic geographic area, and facilitate its further exploration to database users.

Collection of Marine litter resources

To identify and collect resources dealing with marine litter, the sources of information used were:

  • Key organisations working on the field of environmental protection, fully- or partially-dedicated to marine litter activities, both at international and European level, and in the CleanAtlantic countries (France, United Kingdom, Portugal, Ireland and Spain). Organisations included relevant authorities/administrations, research institutions, civil associations, ONGs, private enterprises, etc dealing with marine litter issues.
  • European and international R&D projects related with marine litter: these projects were taken from extensive searches performed in major online repositories of European research: CORDIS, DG ECHO, KEEP Database, ENPI CBC, Marine Knowledge Gate, etc.
  • National R&D projects in the CleanAtlantic countries: projects were identified in national R&D databases, or in repositories of funding programmes and funding agencies dealing with marine pollution and environmental issues.

Projects and Organisations selected were included in the database and were further investigated for the identification and extraction of resources that specifically tackled marine litter. Resources were described, classified and linked to their source (project or organisation) in the database. Project coordinators and organisations are being contacted to validate the information compiled in the database.

The collection analysis of resources coming from projects or organisations was based on the methodology developed by AquaTT in the frame of MarineTT project, which in turn was upgraded under the umbrella of STAGES, and COLUMBUS projects.

Collection criteria

Taking into account that the universe of projects / organisations dealing with marine litter is extremely broad, CleanAtlantic aims at showing a significant, but not fully comprehensive, picture of the existing knowledge following the criteria below:

For R&D projects:

  • Prioritise the analysis of projects with results that are publicly available.
  • To show a representative sample of results obtained in each project that are focussed on marine litter issues specifically.
  • Include only resources that were developed in the languages of the CleanAtlantic countries (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish).

In addition to finalised projects, the database includes ongoing projects that may not have produced any resources yet. Please note that the database will be frequently updated with new additional resources, and will also check for any updates of existing resources when new versions are available.

For International, European and national organisations:

  • To show a representative sample of relevant organisations fully or partially dedicated to marine litter fight at European / International level and in the CleanAtlantic countries
  • Prioritise organisations that have produced relevant materials or resources useful for the CleanAtlantic purposes and covering all marine litter topics.

Classification of Resources

Resources compiled were classified into 16 areas of knowledge and according to 15 types of resources:

Marine Litter Areas of Knowledge Type of resource:
• Waste prevention & management from fishing, aquaculture and ports
• Waste prevention & management from land-based sources
• Circular economy & recycling
• Microplastics
• Bioplastics
• Toxicity and impact of meso and macro marine litter
• Fishing for litter
• Cleaning the marine environment
• Impacts, reduction and retrieval of ALDFG
• Mapping of marine litter
• Monitoring of marine litter
• Modelling marine litter
• Training and education
• Awareness
• Socioeconomic analysis and impact
• Policy, governance and management
• Book/review
• Database
• Dissemination materials,
• Protocols / guidelines,
• Multimedia
• Report
• Scientific Publication,
• Services / tools / models
• Apps / software
• Educational packs / training activity / learning module
• Best practices
• Policy brief
• Equipment / technology
• Case studies
• Other

  The definition of each area of knowledge is described in the table below:

Areas of knowledge Description
Waste prevention & management from fishing, aquaculture and ports Identification of sources on marine litter. Technologies, equipment, best practices for waste management from fishing (on board and at the harbour), port (including port receptions facilities and systems), and from aquaculture activities.
Waste prevention & management from land-based sources Identification of sources on marine litter. Technologies, equipment, best practices to prevent litter (macro and micro) entering water systems (river, marine environment). Reduction measures for single use items, reduction of sewage and storm water related waste.
Circular economy & recycling Recycling technologies, transformation of marine litter into new products. Life-cycle studies, Extended producer responsibility (EPR).
Microplastics Datasets, sampling, analysis, toxicity, impact on biota, marine ecosystems and human health.
Bioplastics Alternatives to plastics produced from fossil feedstock.
Toxicity and impact of meso and macro marine litter Research evaluating the potential harm and impact on biota, marine ecosystems and human health caused by marine litter in general or by specific items such as cigars filters/butts, balloons, shotgun wads, cotton buds, EPS, etc.
Fishing for litter Reduction of marine litter through implementation of fishing for litter initiatives (active and passive schemes) involving the fishing sector. Protocols, case studies, technologies, equipment, etc.
Cleaning the marine environment Technologies, equipment, protocols, methods, best practices for environmental friendly cleaning in beaches, riverbanks, pelagic and surface sea areas, seabed, ports and inland waterways, except for fishing for litter activities. Risk assessment tools for retrieval decision making.
Impacts, reduction and retrieval of ALDFG Resources exploring the impacts of abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gears (ALDFG). Methods/technologies for their reduction. Retrieval actions of ALDGF should be also included in this category.
Mapping of marine litter Sub-regional or regional maps of hotspots of floating and seafloor litter, and identification of hotspots of accumulation on coastal areas.
Mapping of marine litter Monitoring data, procedures, technologies, equipment, indicators, etc. Approaches and technologies to locate accumulation areas.
Modelling marine litter Models and tools to predict behaviour and transport of marine litter.
Training and education Training and education tools, materials, activities and programmes for different audiences
Awareness Awareness raising tools, materials, activities and programmes for different audiences.
Socioeconomic analysis and impact Research and data on the impact of marine litter in different sectors (fishing, aquaculture, tourism), cost benefit analysis, incentives, etc.
Policy, governance and management Resources reviewing existing policy instruments to tackle marine litter or providing support to their implementation. Resources proposing/suggesting policy options, recommendations and measures to deal with marine litter.

Link Verification and update of resources

A broken link is a link on a web site that no longer works because the website is experiencing one or more of the following issues:

  • The destination web page has been moved or no longer exists.
  • An invalid URL has been entered for the link by the web page owner.
  • The linked web page has been removed from the web site.

In order to keep the CleanAtlantic database updated and to avoid the presence of broken links, a link verification-testing tool has been implemented.

The link verification-testing tool will verify for broken links, site availability, or find links containing syntactic errors.This verification tool will explore the CleanAtlantic database on a daily basis. Broken links will be reported to an administrator for its management or restoration.

The link verification-testing tool also provides an additional feature that allows the database to download the latest version of available resources (following a permission request to the resource owner). This tool will check resource links, and will update the latest version of resource files creating a back-up file. In case any resource link is broken, the database will redirect the access to the resource to the back-up file.

This functionality allows the database to become a centralised repository of marine litter knowledge that is kept up-to-date and that provides verified and updated information.