"Your local government
voice on marine pollution"

Kommunenes Internasjonale Miljøorganisasjon

Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation

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Save the North Sea
        A major attempt to raise awareness for the problem of marine litter in Europe


Over 20,000 tons of marine litter is annually dumped into the North Sea. This makes marine litter one of the worst environmental problems in the North Sea region. The objective of Save the North Sea is to reduce marine litter in the North Sea by changing the attitudes and behaviour of the people using the area. The project is focused on reducing the environmental impact of marine litter and its social, economic and ecological consequences.


Changing attitudes and behaviour

The project works towards changing the attitudes and behaviour of those stakeholders who are part of the sources of marine litter and investigate why the marine litter situation persists despite EU directives and conventions.



It also aims to have an overall campaign that ties together research, market surveys, and training course activities into one united project with common message.


Contribute to a sustainable development

The main aim of the project is to contribute to a sustainable and balanced development in the North Sea Region. Influencing the attitudes and behaviour among the target sectors that use the region for commercial and recreational puropses will do this. 


Project Partners


ALTERRA - Texel Marine and Coastal Zone Research, the Netherlands 

FEE ( Foundation for Environmental Education), Norway 

Keep Scotland Beautiful 

Keep Sweden Tidy (Lead Partner) 

KIMO International, Shetland Islands, United Kingdom 

Skagen Unddannelsescenter, Denmark 

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 
Marine litter in Scalloway, Shetland
The Save the North Sea project’s main aim was to reduce marine litter in the North Sea Region by influencing attitudes and behaviour of the target sectors that are among the key sources of marine litter. These are the oil, fishing and shipping industries and recreational sector. The project illustrated the ‘eco-chain’ that exists between these groups and how their behaviour and actions affect both themselves and others in this region. It is this interdependency that the project highlighted with a range of activities, as well as supporting research efforts to give greater insight into the complexity and consequences of marine litter on the environment.



Save the North Sea had a number of activities:


Three Market Research Studies were carried out to establish current attitudes and behaviour towards marine litter as well as the underlying causes to why the problem persists despite international regulations.


International Marine Awareness Courses for seamen were carried out to improve their environmental knowledge. The objective of the course was to increase their understanding of the marine eco-system.


The Fishing for Litter Initiative involves fishermen bringing ashore the litter they catch in their nets as a part of their fishing activities. Fishermen from 53 vessels participated on a voluntary basis in Scotland, Shetland Islands, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.


The Individual Blue Flag Campaign encourages private boat users to sign a coded of conduct and commit to improving the marine environment.


A Pilot Study on Recycling Plastic Materials from fishing nets, gear, fishing crates, etc was conducted in Skagen, Denmark.


Fulmar Seabird Studies analysed the amount and kinds of litter found in these birds’ stomachs was conducted in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, UK and the Netherlands.


International Eco Schools Conferences for teachers and students are held with the aim of spreading knowledge about the effects of marine litter and giving practical study materials and tools to use.


An international Young Reporters for the Environment conference has focused on how the students can write journalistic articles about marine litter.


Documentary Film about the project and its activities was completed in 2003. Click here to watch the film.




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