Islands, waste and tourism: the Interreg MED Blue Islands project kicks-off

  • Blue Islands
  • Par  Cristina CASIAN

The Blue Islands project             

Blue Islands is a 3-year European project (2016-2019) co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and lead by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus. The partnership consists of 14 partners[1], including 9 Mediterranean islands, 2 economic operators, 2 research institutions and an international association specialised in resource management.

The project will work on developing and elaborating effective, financially viable and environmentally responsible means to address the seasonal variation of waste generation on MED islands due to tourism.

 The activities

The main planned tasks refer to the quantification of waste during and outside of the highly touristic period, the assessment of waste composition, the impact of litter on beaches and seashores, and their influence in waste water treatment facilities.

The first step will be to assess the dynamics of micro and macro plastics in highly touristic coastal areas. During the next months, surveys will be conducted by the partner islands, with the study of samples collected on land and at sea.

Based on the results, different strategies will be discussed and a multidimensional tool, including different action plans, will be created and implemented. The surveys will then be repeated in order to evaluate the impact of the new measures.

 The context

The Mediterranean region is the world’s leading tourist destination and it is common for islands to host far greater population during the summer season. Local economies are deeply reliant on tourism for employment and income source. However, this annual massive tourist wave, largely concentrated within a short period, places a great burden on the infrastructure, especially for waste management. Indeed, local authorities are often struggling to cope with the high increase in waste generation and the often poor sorting level from tourists.

Additionally, whilst it is a well-known phenomenon, the seasonal variation of waste generation in sea-locked island has yet to be properly defined and its socioeconomic and environmental effect determined. Isolation and the lack of space for facilities create an additional constraint for these territories, and the Blue Islands project aims to provide answers to these concerns.

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[1] Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus, Rhodes Municipality, Crete Region, Mykonos Municipality, INSULEUR, Primorje and Gorski Kotar County, Taormina Etna Consortium, Sardinia Region, Wasteserv Malta Ltd., Ea éco-entreprises, Autonomous University of Barcelona, CoNISMa, ACR+, Council of Mallorca

For more information:

Cristina Casian

Tel: +33 (0) 4 42 97 14 92