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European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet)

Marine Litter

EMODnet Chemistry developed and manages the first pan-European Marine Litter Database (MLDB) on the advice of the MSFD Technical Group on Marine Litter and in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders in the EU, such as the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the Regional Sea Conventions and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. The EMODnet Chemistry Marine Litter Database is a major milestone in the harmonisation of available information at the European level, supporting the establishment of European baselines and threshold values for the MSFD.

Through the SeaDataNet CDI Data Discovery and Access Service, EMODnet Chemistry gives access to beach and seafloor macrolitter data and microlitter data on the sea surface and in sediment from a variety of sources. These include the EU Member States, Regional Sea Conventions, EMODnet partners, and external research or monitoring projects as well as NGOs, citizens, and private companies. Most datasets come from existing monitoring efforts that have published their data in specific databases (e.g. OSPAR and ICES DATRAS). 

Through the Products Catalogue, EMODnet Chemistry regularly provides standardised, harmonised and validated data collections for each of the above-mentioned types of marine litter. The differences in the format and reported information might not allow a direct comparison with the source databases. 

The partnership is increasingly involved in the  the management of other types of marine litter prioritised in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
 

How to submit data


Eager to submit your data? Check out the Marine litter data-flow (see the collapsible boxes below): an intuitive and concise step-by-step scheme on how to share marine litter data using fit-for-purpose guidelines, tools, and software. In particular, this one-page guide provides information on formatting, validating, and submitting data on beach litter, seafloor litter, and floating microlitter.

Beach Litter Data-Flow
  1. Format Data
  2. Validate Data
    Use the EMODnet Beach Litter Format Validator to validate data.
  3. Send Data
    Send the data to EMODnet Chemistry
Sea Floor Litter Data-Flow
  1. Format Data
  2. Validate Data
    Use EMODnet SeaFloor Format Validator to validate data.
  3. Send Data
    Send the data to EMODnet Chemistry.
Floating and Sediment Micro-litter Data
  1. Format Data
  2. Validate Data
    Use OCTOPUS software to validate data.
  3. Submit metadata
    Populate your CDI metadata and Micro Litter data sets into the SeaDataNet CDI Data Discovery and Access service.

Tools & Vocabularies


Together with the partnership's research and monitoring institutes, the national oceanographic data centres collect and format the available information to populate the EU marine litter database. The specific tools developed and used to visualise, format (syntactically and semantically), and validate marine litter data are briefly described below:

Marine Litter Manager

The Marine Litter Manager generates EMODnet beach and seafloor data formats. The software is downloadable on GitHub, where the user manual and dedicated videotutorials are also available.

Marine Litter Manager - GitHub Code
English
(GitHub - CC0-1.0 License)

GitHub 

EMODnet Beach Litter Format Validator

EMODnet Beach Litter Format Validator allows users to check correctness and approve EMODnet beach litter data files.

Once beach litter data are formatted in compliance with the official specifications (dx.doi.org/10.6092/15c0d34c-a01a-4091-91ac-7c4f561ab508 lets the user check correctness and approval of the generated files. It has been successfully tested with Chrome, Firefox and Edge web browsers.

Seafloor Litter Format Validator

Seafloor Litter Format Validator allows users to check correctness and approve EMODnet seafloor litter data files;

Once seafloor litter data are formatted following the official specifications (https://dx.doi.org/10.6092/15c0d34c-a01a-4091-91ac-7c4f561ab508 lets the user check correctness and approval of the generated files. It has been successfully tested with Chrome, Firefox and Edge web browsers.

Beach litter vocabularies

The Beach litter vocabularies list all terms used to describe beach litter data in EMODnet format. This online service allows the user to have an up-to-date database of beach litter vocabularies, which is essential for the interoperability of the data.

Beaches map

Beaches map is a dynamic visualisation of the distribution of beaches (and their codes) contained in the EMODnet Chemistry beach litter database. These beaches have been surveyed either for litter monitoring, cleaning or research. This tool helps to avoid duplicates when recording beach litter data.

Marine Litter - Beaches Locations (Official Monitoring)
Marine Litter: beaches locations
 

ICES vocabularies

ICES vocabularies include all the terms used to describe seafloor litter data in the EMODnet format.

NEMO & MIKADO

NEMO and MIKADO tools enable data centres to format data and metadata files, respectively.

SeaDataNet vocabularies

SeaDataNet Common vocabularies terms include all the terms used to describe microlitter data in the EMODnet format.

Data collections of standardised, harmonised, and validated datasets are available at the global level, as shown in the figure(s) below.

Available to download as EMODnet Beach litter spreadsheet (TXT file), EMODnet Sea-floor litter csv file, and EMODnet microlitter spreadsheet (TXT file).
EMODnet Chemistry - Marine litter data collections of Beach Litter
Beach Litter dataset
DOI: 10.6092/kva0-xe59
EMODnet Chemistry - Marine litter data collections of Micro Litter
Micro Litter dataset
DOI: 10.13120/q6t1-2r39
EMODnet Chemistry - Marine litter data collections of Seafloor Litter
Seafloor Litter dataset
DOI: 10.13120/wgyh-sc94

Data collections are the input data for creating visualisation products of marine litter.

Beach litter maps display:

  • beach locations and the litter list used;
  • number of surveys (median abundance) and temporal coverage per beach;
  • composition of litter according to material categories (percentage) per beach;
  • Median total number of litter items per 100 m and per survey;
  • median number of items per 100 m and per survey for specific litter group abundances: cigarette related items, fishing and aquaculture related plastic items, and plastic bags.

 

Seafloor litter maps display:

  • trawl locations;
  • marine litter material categories (percentage) per trawl per year;
  • density of seafloor litter per trawl per year;
  • density of fishing-related items per trawl per year;
  • density of plastic bag-related items per trawl per year.

 

Detailed information on the methods used to create the visualisation products can be found in the guidelines.

Data products are accessible on the Central Portal through the EMODnet Map viewer service and the EMODnet Catalogue Service, where users can also retrieve the full set of metadata, originators, and distributors.

The products can be freely used for non-commercial and educational purposes. However, the data in the maps have been homogenised and filtered to allow comparisons between countries. Therefore, EMODnet’s marine litter visualisation products may not be comparable to source data accessible through other platforms.

EMODnet Chemistry is not responsible for the use of the data and products by third parties. Users are requested to give due credit to the EMODnet Chemistry project and the data originators.