In August 2021, the University of Rostock and the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW), together with the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) and other partners including think tanks as well as universities and ministries from the project region, started a research project on Marine Litter caused by the tourism industry in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria called TouMaLi. Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) participate in this research as the local project partner in Egypt. Complimentary the Egyptian Ministries for Environment, Local development and Tourism are involved. The project aims to develop and establish sustainable waste management solutions in the tourism sector to protect marine ecosystems in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is funding the project with about 4.2 million euros from the "Funding Programme against Marine Litter". “Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH“ supports the Federal Ministry in implementing its funding policy aims.
The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most polluted marine environments in the world. According to the European Parliament, about 730 tonnes of litter are discharged every day, the majority of which consists of plastics. So far, both monitoring of inputs and research on the exact impacts and long-term effects are limited. However, negative impacts on marine wildlife, human health, climate and the economy have already been proven.
The countries belonging to the MENA region, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, have a very high plastic waste generation. This is partly caused by the tourism sector which is a major contributor to local waste generation. A consortium of ten different institutions from science, think tanks and private companies will address this challenge in the TouMaLi research project. The German partner consortium includes next to the University of Rostock and the Institute for Baltic Sea Research also three companies with a very good reputation, named Adelphi gGmbH, BlackForest Solutions and the Landbell Group. The overall objective of the project is to minimise the share of tourism waste in the target regions. This will be achieved by implementing the framework conditions needed to avoid and recycle waste as much as possible and thereby sustainably reducing the total amount of marine and beach litter.
The subject of the project is therefore the development of an assessment system for marine litter pollution based on the monitoring of beach litter as well as the evaluation of current waste disposal. Adding to that is the analysis, implementation and monitoring of legal, organisational, financial and technical solutions and measures with local, regional and national actors. Awareness-raising is another key activity to achieve long-term, self-sustaining monitoring by local actors.
The project implementation focuses on designated pilot regions in the project countries, which are to become exemplary for wider national implementation after the end of the project.
AASTMT as the academic and scientific arm of the Arab League with seven sites in Egypt and the headquarter located in Alexandria, the most populated touristic city on the Mediterranean, is looking forward to effectively cooperate with the University of Rostock and all partners to achieve the different objectives and outcomes of the project. We target to involve all national stakeholders active in the tourism and waste management sector for the great success of the project. Additional all national and international stakeholders active in the area that aim to target the issue of marine litter are invited to participate in the project activities.
Prof. Dr.Alaa Abdelwahed Abdelbary
Local Team Leader, TouMaLi Project
Vice President for Post Graduate studies and Scientific Research
Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport
E-mail : aaelbaryaast [dot] edu
aaelbaryyahoo [dot] com