An average of 783 pieces of litter per 100 linear metres can be found on Italian beaches, and 90% of this litter is plastic. This value far exceeds the threshold value or reference target set at European level for judging a beach to be in good environmental condition, i.e. less than 20 pieces of beach litter per 100 linear metres of coastline. This data emerges from the Beach Litter 2021 survey, conducted by Legambiente, whose volunteers monitored 47 beaches in 13 regions (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Tuscany, Calabria, Campania, Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Marche, Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Veneto), collecting 36,821 pieces of litter in a total area of 176,100 square metres. The most common litter collected was food packaging and litter caused by cigarette smoking; plastic bottles, containers and caps; cigarette butts, rubble, glass fragments, not forgetting gloves and masks, which were found on 72% of the beaches monitored.
Plastic pollution in the sea and on beaches, together with the climate emergency, remains the other major environmental and global issue to be tackled with targeted policies and action. Almost half of the beach litter monitored is made up of precisely the products mentioned by the European directive on single-use plastic, i.e. disposable products, from plastic bottles to tableware, from cigarette butts to cotton buds, to name but a few.