What has BLUEISLANDS been up to?

Overview of the past 6-months activities and steps ahead.

The Interreg Med BLUEISLANDS project is heading towards its mid-term and the studying phase is well underway. Project partners are cooperating with a common objective - to develop effective ways for mitigating the negative effects (environmental and socioeconomic) stemming from the significant variation in waste generation observed in MED islands over the tourist season.

The past months have been very active for the whole partnership, with a successful international conference in Brussels, the launch of a Charter of commitments, and on-going studies on waste generation, marine litter and waste water in the pilot islands.

BLUEISLANDS mid-term conference & Charter of commitments
In the framework of the BLUEISLANDS project, the conference “Towards a circular economy and sustainable tourism on islands”, was hosted on 11 April 2018 at the European Parliament by the SEARICA Intergroup and jointly organized with ACR+. It provided a platform to discuss a shared path towards material resource resiliency, circular economy and sustainable tourism on islands. Read our Press Release for more information and find all presentations here.
On this occasion, several local authorities and Members of the European Parliament signed the BLUEISLANDS and URBAN-WASTE’s “Charter of commitments for sustainable material resources management and circular economy”.

Studying phase
The studying phase of the project is focusing on measuring the correlation between tourism and waste generation through quantification, analysis of waste, assessment of its composition, and the impact of marine litter in beaches, seawaters and coasts relevant to micro plastics, as well as the influence of waste water during the high season tourist peak through short-term macroalgae deployments. Below are the main activities:

  1. Marine litter surveys and sand samples collection were conducted on beaches of 8 islands of the Mediterranean during the low and high seasons. Read more here;
  2. Monitoring of the quality of coastal seawater was carried out in Cyprus and Sicily (Italy) to evaluate the presence and distribution of anthropogenic nutrients. Read more here;
  3. Surface waters are currently being collected and analysed;
  4. Waste characteristics study: the collection of primary data about sources of waste, frequency, type and volumne started in June 2018 and will continue for several months.

As we are now entering the high touristic season, more surveys and sampling collection are taking place in all partner areas, through the analysis of which the aim is to define waste seasonal variation in measurable and comparable quantities and quality.

The BLUEISLANDS project offered to its partners and other interested stakeholders four free capacity building webinars focusing on: Circular Economy, Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and Sustainable Tourism. More information and recordings here.