Global assessment of innovative solutions to tackle marine litter


Marine litter is one of the most relevant pollution problems that our oceans are facing today. Marine litter in our oceans is a major threat to a sustainable planet. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of cutting-edge solutions developed globally to prevent, monitor and clean marine litter. Prevention in this research includes only innovative solutions to prevent litter entering oceans and seas rather than interventions such as waste reduction and recycling. On the basis of extensive search and data compilation, our analysis reveals that information is dispersed across platforms and is not easily accessible. In total, 177 solutions—the equivalent to <0.9% of the search hits—fulfilled our validation criteria and were evaluated. Most solutions (n = 106, 60%) primarily address monitoring and were developed during the past 3 years, with the scientific community being the key driver. Few solutions reached mature technical readiness and market availability, while none were validated for efficiency and environmental impact. Looking ahead, we elaborate on the limitations of the existing solutions, the challenges of developing new solutions, and provide recommendations for funding schemes and policy instruments to prevent, monitor and clean marine litter globally. In doing so, we encourage researchers, innovators and policy-makers worldwide to act towards achieving and sustaining a cleaner ocean for future generations.
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