Taking Stock: An Update on the Project’s Status
The Interreg Med BLUEISLANDS project is running smoothly towards the finalisation of its first phase – which is the studying phase – and the project partners are continuing to work closely in a spirit of cooperation to deliver all the outputs required. In parallel, preparation activities are taking place in order to initiate the next phase of the project, in the beginning of 2019.
Throughout this phase, partners have been collecting information to understand how tourism seasonality affects waste production on islands’ coastal areas. To this end, sampling collection took place at selected beaches in partners’ areas for microplastics and marine litter in the sand and in the surface waters of the sea. In parallel to these activities, a preliminary study for the detection of anthropogenic nutrients in marine coastal areas was prepared. In addition, a very important action took place aiming to characterise the waste produced, its composition, the means, methods and frequency of waste collection. Thus, waste characterisation studies were performed in all partner islands and their results were used for compiling and normalising the data acquired.
Through this methodology the basic information was prepared for the actions to follow, such as the preparation of the report on the state of the art, as well as the creation of tools encompassing Action Plans for: a) reducing and managing wastewater production taking into consideration tourism seasonality and b) reducing micro-plastics and marine litter production in selected beaches taking into consideration tourism seasonality. The Action Plans, which are the final deliverables of the studying phase, constitute the basis for initiating the following phases of the project, the testing and capitalisation phases, which include pilot actions’ implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as knowledge transfer, capacity-building and dissemination activities for the results achieved directed at different target groups including policy-makers.
At the same time, the BlueIslands partners have been actively participating in many other dissemination events, either organised by the Programmes Joint Secretariat, or the Programme’s horizontal project, and in different events falling under the subject “waste management and tourism” organised by other projects or organisations. The active participation of the partnership in those events facilitates great visibility for BlueIslands’ main objectives, the activities implemented, and the results achieved.
These activities are considered innovative since this is the first time that seasonality of waste generation due to tourism has been dealt with on such a wide scale in the Mediterranean areas’ coasts. The project’s goal is to develop effective ways to practically mitigate the adverse effects (socioeconomic and environmental) stemming from the significant variation of waste generation in MED islands in relation to the touristic flaws.