As part of my commitment to get drastic with plastic, I will stop using plastic bags for shopping and use a recycled bag or a basket instead. I will ask my friends and family to do the same. Marine litter harms over 600 species, including turtles who mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them!
Did you know that 60-90% of marine litter is plastic? I will call on local companies to design and package their products with as little plastic as possible. For those who continue to use over-the-top packaging, I will take photos and share them with the #CleanSeas hashtag on social media to raise the pressure.
Canada joined the CleanSeas campaign and committed to continue targeting pollution prevention, conducting research on the impact of microplastics, funding community-based programs (including shorefront clean-ups), and engaging with partners at home and abroad. In addition, in June 2017, the Government of Canada published the 'Micorbeads in Toiletries Regulations' (pursuant to the 'Canadian Environmental Protection Act' of 1999), which will prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of toiletries used to exfoliate or cleanse that contain plastic microbeads.
Each year the world throws away over 1 trillion plastic bags that kill animals, clog our rivers and pollute our oceans. I will monitor my own use of plastic for a week and commit to reducing it and call on leaders and shops I visit to switch away from plastic bags, cups, cutlery, straws and plates!
I will organize a cleanup on the beach or the river bank with my local community and use the Trash Hunter App to see who is the biggest polluter in our area. We will then let the media know what we collected and make sure the trash is properly disposed of. Unless we act, by 2050, an estimated 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
Costa Rica joined the CleanSeas campaign. The Government of Costa Rica also pledged to advance with the implementation of its Integrated Waste Management Law and established the National Strategy on Separation, Recovery and Valorization of Waste 2016-2021 and the National Plan to discourage the use of plastics: prevention, reaching out, awareness raising.
Israel joined the CleanSeas campaign. Israel also promotes a Clean Coast program, whose budget has been recently increased threefold, with the goal to have 70% of Israel’s beaches clean 70% of the time by 2018. Israel is also implementing the Plastic Bag Law since January 2017, banning the distribution of plastic bags with a width of less than 20 microns and introducing charges for bags with a width between 20-50 microns. Israel is also planning to expand its national marine monitoring program to generate improved knowledge of marine litter.
The UK joined the CleanSeas campaign and recently published a Litter Strategy for England (April 2017) and completed the consultations on proposals to ban microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. In addition, the UK has introduced a charge on single use plastic bags in England in 2015.
From August 1st till 15th the North Sea Foundation organizes the Boskalis Beach Cleanup Tour where the entire Dutch North Sea coast is cleared of waste. The Cleanup kicks off simultaneously in Cadzand and Schiermonnikoog. Volunteers take on 30 stages in 15 days, where half walk towards the north, the other half towards the south of Holland. After two weeks the two teams meet and finish in Zandvoort, where the results of this year’s Beach Cleanup will be presented.
Together with 6.377 volunteers, the North Sea Foundation cleared 57.426 kilos off the Dutch beaches, since the first edition in 2013. This boils down to over 10.000 waste bags full of waste.
Results from 13 years of beach litter monitoring by the North Sea Foundation show that on average 375 waste items per 100m are found. Over 93% of these waste items consist of plastic. Marine mammals, birds and fish see the plastic waste as food, which can lead to ingestion and potentially fatal consequences. Marine waste harms over 600 marine species. The waste problem is becoming so substantial that the UN predicts that in 2050 99% of the seabirds will have ingested plastic. In The Netherlands 93% of the petrels has plastic in their stomach. Young seals also face this problem. Research shows that over 12% of the Dutch regular seals has plastic in their stomachs.
In bathroom shelves across the world lie toothpaste and facial scrubs packed with tiny plastic pieces that threaten marine life. Up to 51 trillion microplastic particles are already in our oceans! I will use an app, such as Beat the Microbead, to replace personal care and cosmetics products that contain microbeads and write to companies that are not using natural alternatives.
The Belgian Federal Government is preparing a national action plan to combat marine litter. The Plan will aim to prevent macro and micro litter, to reduce land based as well as sea based sources and will also contain provisions for collaboration between the different governmental bodies (local, regional and federal governments and internationally). A number of awareness raising and educational initiatives are also foreseen both at the federal and the regional level.
Keep Denmark Tidy, Keep the Archipelago Tidy (Finland), Landvernd (Icelandic Environment Association), Keep Norway Beautiful and Keep Sweden Tidy have joined forces to organize the very first Nordic Coastal Clean Up.
At least 8 million tons of plastic leaks into the ocean each year. As well as using less plastic in the first place, we must make sure the remainder is properly disposed of. How?
Candies, cheese, even vegetables: more and more of our food is packed in plastic to keep it fresh until we use it. Then it goes in the trash, and could end up in the ocean. How can we reduce this?
From the 50 billion bottles of water being bought each year, 80% of the containers end up in landfill. We all need water, and it's handy in a bottle, but surely we can do much better than this!
This campaign platform is open to governments, governmental entities, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, communities, the private sector and individuals who wish to commit to specific actions in support of the #CleanSeas campaign. By committing to an action you acknowledge that UN Environment may follow up with you about your commitment.