Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

Marine litter monitoring

Marine Litter Monitoring Projects

The coastal zone of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region hosts major cities, harbours, industries and other development infrastructure that is increasingly posing a threat to the integrity of the coastal and marine ecosystems. Most of the major cities and towns found in the WIO region generate significant amounts of solid wastes, some of which reach the sea to contribute to marine litter problem, as well as discharges through rivers (transporting solid waste/debris from urban areas located in their watersheds). At least four major cities on the mainland coast of Eastern Africa, namely Mombasa, Dar Es Salaam, Beira and Maputo, are located on the coast.

Marine litter is recognized as global challenge however, its impacts are felt locally, and those impacts vary across populations and ecosystems. Unfortunately, the needed data coming from sustained observation and experimentation of these issues are almost absent for the WIO region. This is mostly a consequence of lack of awareness, training, resources and adequate technical equipment. A dedicated effort to build human and technical capacities to establish marine litter observation systems in the region is of high priority in the region.

WIOMSA, together with Sustainable Seas Trust in South Africa and other country partners are implementing a marine litter monitoring program in the region. Five sites in different countries in the region have been established to set baselines for relevant targets as required in the SDG 14.1. Our partners are: 

  • Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (Kenya)
  • Nipe Fagio and University of Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania)
  • Universidade Lurio (Mozambique)
  • The Ocean Project Seychelles and the Seychelles Islands (Seychelles)
  • Cetamada (Madagascar)
  • Sustainable Sea Trust (South Africa)

To learn more about the initiative and how we are monitoring marine litter, please read our survey guideline here.