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MARLISCO - Stop marine litter together!

MARLISCO project - MARINE Litter in European Seas: Social Awareness and CO-Responsibility aimed to raise social awareness on the impacts of marine litter and build innovative solutions, aiming to inspire changes in attitude and society behavior of the society at large.


Won the RRI Tools project as one of 31 good European practices, inspiring Responsible Research Innovation.

Marine litter problem

Every year, millions of tons of marine litter comes to the oceans. Despite far from our view, the environmental, economic and social impact of all this waste is disturbing and globally recognized as an emerging threat to marine life and to our quality of life. Marine litter is a social problem! Results from current patterns of production and consumption, and the way we deal with waste.  People play a crucial role through their decisions and behaviors.


The MARLISCO project 

MARLISCO - a European project funded by European Commission under the 7th Framework Program (FP7) for Research & Development- aimed 

  • to increase social awareness on the impacts of marine litter and build innovative solutions to the problem

  • build and facilitate a genuine dialogue among the social actors

  • promote co-responsibility of the social actors

  • creating a joint vision for sustainable management of marine litter in the seas of European countries.

The activities, developed by a consortium of 20 European organizations from 15 coastal countries, from June 2012 to May 2015 in four European regional seas: North Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Sea.

MARLISCO in Portugal was coordinated by the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the New University of Lisbon.

The project was organized in seven components (figure below).

Figure 1. Diagram representing interconnections between the components of the MARLISCO project.

This project, with a marked proactive environmental education feature, aimed to raise awareness about marine litter issue. The Portuguese team contracted by its commitment to outreach the greatest possible number of people, in an effort of mobilization to various activities that result in the involvement of more than 25,000 people in the project activities - those planned and additional ones that move the project further.


One of the main activities of the project was the European Video Contest aimed at involving schools and young people between the ages of 12 and 18 in the various countries of the consortium. Portugal presented 92 videos from schools across the country, in which more than 600 students and teachers got involved, contributing to a total of 379 videos (involving 2123 youngsters in Europe) produced by the 14 partners involved in the contest.


The countries with number of videos immediately after the Portuguese achievement are: Germany with 44 videos, Italy and the Netherlands with 32 videos and Turkey with 30.


In Portugal, two additional children's competitions, not required by the project, were also developed aiming to involve younger age cohorts – the children: the Children's Story Competition (9 to 12 years old) that resulted in children's book Marine Litter: children's stories for children, edited by Plátano Editora, and Anthem Contest (4 to 8 years old). About 1150 pre-school children in sixth year of elementary school participated in these two competitions.


This ample outreach in Portugal with a diverse involvement of social actors contributed to the dominant expression of the project either in National territory as well as at the European level, what granted the RRI Tools recognition.

Figura 2. Projeto MARLISCO – números de vídeos submetidos/alunos envolvidos no Concurso Europeu de Vídeo por país.

Other activities

Forums about marine litter: The Portuguese team assumed in this activity a key role due to its substantial know how in this area. Therefore, the team supported the Irish team during the development of the methodology to implement in the Forums, taking advantage of its time long and substantial expertise in the area.

To test and validate the methodology the team carry out to experimental Forums in the Islands (one in Azores and the other in Madeira) what allowed to make specific adjustments of the methodology and improve some aspects, contributing to a greater success of the National Forum the only requirement of the project in this area.

So, although only one national meeting was planned in the project for each partner country, Portugal conducted two regional forums (in the Azores and Madeira) and one at national level (in Lisbon). The national forum was broadcast lifestream increasing the outreach potential. A diversity of stakeholders participated in the forum, namely firms, scientists, associations, public administration, etc.


The “MARLISCO exhibition "Marine Litter: a global problem" in Portugal was itinerant, having been present in 16 different locations in North, Center and South of the country, and from which two new versions were created - one to cover the nine islands of Azores and another for exhibition outdoors that was present in Sesimbra.


In Portugal, more than 120 educational activities were carried out at level of lectures for specific audiences such as beach cleaning and other awareness activities.


In 2015, MARLISCO Portugal was selected by the RRI Tools project as one of 31 European best practices inspiring Responsible Research Innovation.


The main RESULTS of this project are:

  • Substantial citizen mobilization and involvement;

  • Social empowerment, intellectual capital building and co-responsibility;

  • Creation of partnerships with industry, NGOs and municipalities (building networks based on the sharing of information on marine litter and development of environmental education activities);

  • Launching a compilation of the best videos from European Video Contest, conveying the vision of young Europeans about marine litter;

  • Elaboration of didactic material and a guide to good practices to support the entities in the development of activities related to marine litter;

  • Elaboration of a List of Specific Actions about how to combat marine litter, as a product of the forums;

  • The creation, together with other national entities, of the Association of Marine Litter (Associação Portuguesa do Lixo Marinho).

Several PRODUCTS developed in this project are available in the site and can be consulted and used. They approach the problem of marine litter in the perspective of the different sectors and targeting different sectors and publics, namely:


MARLISCO Guide to Reducing Marine Waste: Inspire and innovate through Best Practices

This guide acts as a tool for knowledge and transferability of experiences, which guides its readers through the main steps of implementing waste reduction practices and provides examples of successful practices that can be an inspiration. You can download this guide below, on this page.

MARLISCO Educational Guide - Knowing, feeling, acting!

 "Knowing, feeling, acting! To reduce Marine Waste: Activity Plan for 2nd and 3rd Cycle Students" is an educational guide about marine litter, containing material that has been designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing to be used in a formal educational context (schools) such as a non-formal educational context (NGOs, museums, youth groups and associations, among others).


Online educational game Sea Dream Team

 An educational game targeting 8 to 12 year olds in which players will have to help a number of characters behave responsibly in regard to the coastal environment and marine litter. The game is available in Portuguese at

“Troubled waters” web document - MAR, GARBAGE ... AND US

This documentary has short videos which represents an aspect or stakeholder related to marine litter. These videos are presented in mind map format, allowing viewers to explore as many documentaries as they wish. The documentary with Portuguese subtitles is available at:


Children's Book "Marine Trash: Children's Stories for Children"

“Marine Litter: children's stories for children” resulted from MARLISCO Children's Tale Contest aimed at 3rd to the 6th year students, edited by Plátano Editora. The book is available at the usual points of sale, or through the publishing company ( or by contacting the Portuguese Association of Marine Litter /Associação Portuguesa de Lixo Marinho (

At  there is also a selection of documents about the subject that resulted from this project, namely a report about Distribution, quantities and types of marine litter, a document presenting Methods for Monitoring and evaluation of marine litter, a summary of Policies to minimize the problem of marine litter, the map with 73 good practices gathered by the various partners of the project (19 in Portugal), and the surveys results carried out during the project, "Perceptions about marine litter” and "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Your Daily Opinions and Behaviors", among many others.


For more information on the MARLISCO project visit the European project website or contact us via the Facebook page


Paula Sobral, Lia Vasconcelos, Graça Martinho, José Carlos Ferreira, Flávia Silva, Isabel Raposo e Filipa Ferro.


Report - Outcomes of the National Events


MARLISCO Project Review Poster

The MARLISCO Guide for Reducing Marine Litter

MARLISCO Educative Guide - Introduction, Scope & Contetnts

MARLISCO Educative Guide - Notes for the Educator

MARLISCO Educative Guide - Lesson Plans and activities

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