Three questions to… Marta Ruiz, Activity 3 lead (Marine litter)

Marta Ruiz is the lead of HELCOM BLUES Activity 3 on marine litter. She an Associate Professional Secretary at HELCOM, working on marine litter, underwater noise and non-indigenous species issues. On marine litter, she currently provides support on monitoring and assessment, and on the implementation of the HELCOM Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter. Marta holds a PhD in the field of marine sciences.

What is the Activity 3 on marine litter all about? 

Activity 3 is about beach litter, about finding out how much of it is out there on our beaches and of which type. The activity also addresses microlitter, looking into a common way for its quantification by all HELCOM countries. 

What are the planned outcomes of the Activity 3?

We want to understand how litter affects the components of the marine ecosystem. We will therefore conduct a beach litter assessment using data from all Baltic Sea countries to find out more about the properties and quantities of marine litter, and which types of litter could cause harm to the coastal and marine environment. We will also develop a standard procedure for monitoring microlitter in the water column and in sediments. Once applied by all HELCOM countries, it will facilitate the comparison of national data. This will eventually give us a wider and clearer regional perspective on microliter in the Baltic Sea. 

How will Activity 3 benefit the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea? 

Once we will know more about the status of microlitter and beach litter in the Baltic Sea, we will be able to develop more adequate and targeted measures to tackle the problem, to be implemented at both national and regional levels. The knowledge gained from BLUES will also help to drive the implementation of existing measures such as those contained in the HELCOM Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter.