APLM was born in the academia as a follow up to the work of a team of researchers from MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre at FCT - Universidade NOVA de Lisboa carries out on the topic since 2008 in the Department of Sciences and Environmental Engineering, under the leadership of Paula Sobral.
This work was initially carried out under the POIZON project (Microplastics and persistent pollutants: a double threat to marine life) funded by the National Foundation of Science and Technology (2010-2014) and subsequently by the MARLISCO project (MARine Litter in Europe Seas: Social AwarenesS and CO-Responsibility), funded by the European Commission (2012-2015), and included the characterization of marine litter and microplastics on the Portuguese coast, the degradation of plastic polymers in the oceans and the ingestion of particles by marine organisms, as well as awareness raising in the society, through collaborative workshops, environmental education and partnerships with different sectors of society.
The interest in creating the Portuguese Partnership on Marine Litter emerged through contacts with various entities and individuals, information sharing and mutual interests, namely with Fabiano Barretto at that time at The Global Garbage, Brazil, who proposed the initiative and supported the creation of APLM, with the perspective to extend its activities to the Portuguese Speaking Countries.
The meeting that led to the creation of APLM took place on November 25, 2013, in the Portuguese Environment Agency´s Auditorium, an institution that supports this initiative. This founders meeting was attended by several individuals and entities who expressed their willingness to collaborate with APLM.