The European Litter Prevention Association

Systematic measuring opens eyes on litter reality

19 October 2016

Last week we were in Thessaloniki – the second largest city in Greece – in order to pilot the common litter measurement methodology developed by the members of the Clean Europe Network. Whereas litter measurements have become routine in several countries where other piloting exercises have been carried out (such as France, the Netherlands and the UK), this was not the case in Greece which doesn't have any litter prevention organisation. The result was inspiring.

“We know that litter is there and that it is a problem, but actually measuring it in different contexts really is an eye opener”, said one of the pilot participants. The Network’s systematic approach which brings together the experience of more advanced litter prevention programmes allows many others to benefit from the scientific rigour without having to spend the same resources all over again. This systematic measurement is all about spending scarce litter prevention resources in a more targeted and effective way.

The Clean Europe Network aims to have piloted the common methodology in 10 different countries by the end of the year. In each country, pilots are run in four different location types (urban areas [small, medium and large], rural areas, areas with freshwater, and more seasonal and recreational areas). For each location, 10 different “habitats” are chosen to run the measurements. Habitats can include everything from high street/city centres, local retail and commercial districts, high or low density residential areas, parks, shopping malls, transport hubs, public/recreational spaces, rural villages, parking areas, footpaths, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, rivers, canals… and more.

All in all, the Network expects to collect 400 data sets and have enough practical experience to fine-tune our common litter measurement method so that it can be used by anyone across Europe to generate comparable litter data.

The Clean Europe Network will run a workshop with our pilot partners from all over Europe on 28-29/11 in Brussels to share and integrate the experience we have had so far.

Measuring litter: the European way

The Network is currently working on a litter measurement methodology that will generate comprehensive data on litter and littering at a European-wide level ...