CLEANSEA aims to generate new information on the impacts (biological, social and economic) of marine litter, develop novel tools needed to collect and monitor litter and protocols needed for monitoring data (litter composition and quantities) and evaluate the impact of mitigation strategies and measures in order to provide policy options to policy makers in the EU. As in Europe there is an urgent need for an improved knowledge base for the management of marine litter in Norwegian waters. Both Svalbard and numerous beaches and shorelines of Norway have been covered by plastic waste in addition to the unknown amounts of plastic waste floating in Norwegian waters, endangering both sea life and fishing industry. The work carried out by NILU will concentrate o n characterization of marine litter in the North Atlantic region. Quantities, composition and distribution of marine litter will be investigated. Physical, toxicological and chemical impacts will be assessed, and compared to three other regions in Europe. In this way, the work will contribute to development of monitoring strategies and monitoring methods for marine debris, as a basis for better management strategies. The research program of the RCN Hav og kysten with all its 5 subprograms is covering many aspects of CLEANSEA without having funded related research in this scale yet. CLEANSEA will support the research underway in Norway in addition to enabling Norwegian researchers to become a part of a European network of researchers investigating marine l itter in the main European regions. CLEANSEA comprises top scientific groups from eleven European countries distributed over the four marine regions. It also includes six SMEs, four of them focused on technological innovation of monitoring and litter coll ection, mitigation and recycling tools. CLEANSEA will tackle the marine litter problem from a broad interdisciplinary perspective.