News
10 march 2015

"Plastics in the Mediterranean: beyond the facts, what solutions?"

The international symposium "Plastics in the Mediterranean: beyond the facts, what solutions?" was organized on 10 and 11 March this year in Monaco by the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Fondation Mava and Tara Expéditions, historic partner of the Foundation.

Every year, four billion metric tons of waste are dumped in the world's oceans and seas. Plastics account for 70% to 90% of the waste found in the environment. The schooner Tara, supported by the Foundation, travelled 15,000 kms in the Mediterranean from May to November 2014 to study the impact of plastic waste on the ecosystem.

The scientific team collected samples to study the nature, quantity and diversity of plastic waste and everything it transports. At each stopover, a travelling exhibition and awareness-raising workshops were shared with the publics encountered and local schoolchildren were welcomed on board the boat.

This expedition enabled an audit of the alarming situation of plastics pollution in the Mediterranean.

In response to this situation, Tara initiated this symposium in Monaco tobring together all the players involved in the plastics sectorin more than ten Mediterranean countries, with the aim of reducing the volumes and impact of plastic waste in the marine environment. They included producers of waste, recyclers (notably the Managing Director of Waste solutions), the communities impacted by non-recycled waste and the agencies responsible for auditing the impacts.

The symposium was therefore an ideal forum for dialogue between all the stakeholders around identifying common solutions.

The symposium was structured around three workshops :

  • "Plastics in the Mediterranean: the facts", with presentation of the Tara 2014 expedition;
  • "Identifying the obstacles and sticking points to foster emergence of possible solutions", a round-table discussion with a contribution from Bernard Harambillet, Managing Director of Waste solutions;
  • ​"Innovation, a solution to serve ecological transition?"

"Thanks to the Veolia Foundation, we were able to acquire the best instruments and use them to compile unparalleled databases."
Gaby Gorsky, Scientific director of Tara and the Villefranche-sur-Mer Oceanological Observatory

The Prince's engagement in the combat against pollution by plastics

To close this symposium, Prince Albert II of Monaco made a personal commitment to combating pollution by plastics in the Mediterranean by offering to set up a taskforce that will work primarily on reducing flows of waste from the surrounding drainage basins.
 

​PROJECT SUPPORTED

Environment and Biodiversity | France (Hérault)
Tara Expéditions