RMSL Networks


Since 2013, the Portuguese Environment Agency has carried out the Program for the Monitoring of Marine Litter in beaches, which, until 2016, included 9 beaches, distributed throughout the 5 Regions of Portugal: Cabedelo and Estela / Barranha (North), Barra and Osso da Baleia Centro), Amoeiras and Fonte da Telha (Tagus and West), Monte Velho (Alentejo) and Batata and Faro Island (Algarve). In 2017 two more beaches were added, Paredes de Vitória (Alcobaça) and Baleal Leste (Peniche) and in 2018 it was extended to the beaches of Furadouro Sul (Ovar) and Praia Aberta / Praia de Pedrogão (Leiria) in Mainland Portugal and the beaches from Almoxarife and Praia do Norte (Faial Island), Maia Beach and Pedreira Beach (São Miguel Island), São Lourenço Bay (Sta. Maria Island) and Areia Beach (Corvo Island). In the Autonomous Region of the Azores, monitoring has been carried out since 2016. This set of 19 beaches constitutes the MAIN NETWORK for Monitoring the RMSL Initiative, being sampled by the Portuguese Environment Agency, the Autonomous Regions, Municipalities and the European Blue Flag Association.

The Program is one of the actions taken to respond to descriptor 10 (marine litter) of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the commitments made by Portugal under the OSPAR Convention. For the purpose of reporting to the MSFD and OSPAR, the data is collected according to a specific monitoring protocol and is followed for the Main Network, the "OSPAR Protocol for Monitoring Marine Litter on Beaches".

The protocol of the MAIN NETWORK can be consulted here.

The registration form of the program for monitoring marine litter on beaches can be downloaded here.

The OSPAR guidelines and image guide, "Beach Litter Guide", can be found here.

For more information on the results of the Network Monitoring program of the Main Network refer to the Program reports.


In addition to the data collected in the Main Network, RMSL intends to use the information produced by the numerous initiatives aimed at the reduction of marine litter carried out by Portuguese society, through non-governmental organizations, schools and other groups of citizens and use the data generated for these actions and generate useful information to support the decision.

In this sense, an electronic platform "River to sea without litter" is under construction, where data can be uploaded and published on this portal.

The beaches where these actions take place constitute the Citizen Network and for the data to be comparable they must follow a methodology called "Protocol of the Citizen Network". The protocol can be consulted here.

The registration form to support actions under the Citizen Network can be downloaded here.

In operational terms, it is intended to involve different actors interested in this subject, entities of central and local public administration, non-governmental organizations and companies, not forgetting the fundamental role of citizens as individuals. This platform intends to be not only a space of dissemination but mainly a space of reception and aggregation of information that allows in the near future to be used as support for the decision.

Thus, the Citizen Network will be a space open to all who want to share the results of cleaning actions, of greater relevance for the production of information about the national reality, providing a better basis for decision making.

It is also intended in the short term to launch a national monitoring pilot project dedicated to rivers (rivers, reservoirs, ...) to gather information to assess the state of the art of Portugal in this field.