Use of ROV for assessing marine litter on the seafloor of Saronikos Gulf (Greece) : a way to fill data gaps and deliver environmental education

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Ioakeimidis, Christos
Fermeli, Georgia
Papathanassiou, Evaggelos
Papatheodorou, Giorgos
Streftaris, Nikos
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Abstract
A visual census of marine litter on the seafloor of the Saronikos Gulf (Greece) is presented in the current work. The abundance and qualitative composition of benthic marine litter were investigated in two selected locations of the Saronikos Gulf with a Remote Operated Vehicle, where other sampling strategies couldn’t be implemented. The assessment of marine litter was combined with environmental education within the PERSEUS (FP7) Research Project, in a novel 2-day research cruise where schoolchildren actively participated. Two transects of total length 2.36 km were carried out. A relevant marine litter protocol was developed where marine litter was categorized into six different categories according to their material type and where possible, the source of the items was identified. Plastics (55 %) and metals (36 %) had the biggest share among the recorded marine litter items. Marine litter proved to be an ideal theme in order to enhance the environmental awareness of schoolchildren.
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Litter, Plastic, Children, Education
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