On Thursday 15 December 2022, a team of volunteers headed to the island of Pellestrina in the Venetian Lagoon to perform one of the final marine litter monitoring sessions of 2022 for the H2020 In-No-Plastic project. The island, located beneath Venice Lido, separates the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, and is therefore subjected to adverse weather, extreme tides, and fishing/marine activity; all these factors can contribute to an increased quantity of marine litter on its shores.
A team of 9 headed by boat to Pellestrina’s Portosecco area to perform this monitoring session. Venice Lagoon Plastic Free was joined by representatives from ISDI, GEES Recycling, and CNR-ISMAR, as well as other volunteers, who braved the drizzly weather to aid our marine litter monitoring. Upon arriving at the beach, we identified a 100-metre area along the coast for our monitoring session. We then proceeded to collect all macro litter (items larger than 2.5cm, according to the official categorisation) in this section of beach.
The litter collected was then sorted into piles based on typology and size, following standardised protocol. Using the dedicated MAELSTROM app, developed as part of the eponymous H2020 project, we recorded the number of items of each marine litter type before collecting all items and handing the, to GEES Recycling to be mechanically processed for recycling. Most of the marine litter collected was plastic – predominantly nets and other fishing equipment, such as ropes and cords. We also collected a large number of plastic fragments (larger than 2.5cm) and cotton buds.
We then performed a short clean-up of some of the largest items of marine litter outside the 100m area. This clean-up focused particularly on the collection of buoys used for mussel farming, as well as life rings, inflatables, plastic baskets, pieces of furniture and much more. This monitoring and clean-up activity, authorised by the Municipality of Venice, highlighted the serious conditions on Pellestrina’s shoreline, as well as the need to intervene with actions targeted at preventing fishing and mussel farming equipment from being dispersed into the surrounding environment.
VLPF will continue to monitor this site each season to better understand the development of the current situation, and to communicate this to relevant parties.
For more information on our clean-up and monitoring event, visit our photo gallery.
If you’d like to join our team of volunteers for future clean-ups and marine litter monitoring sessions, head to our sign-up form here.