Millions of volunteers in over 150 countries are uniting to clean up the world in one day on September 15.
It may be ambitious, but it is desperately needed. In the last few years we have seen the devastation that plastic has caused to our planet.
In Mumbai, volunteers undertook the task of cleaning Versova Beach. In 21 months, 5.3 million kilogrammes of trash and plastic were removed from a 2.5km stretch of beach. You couldn’t see a grain of sand on the beach prior to the clean-up. It was just a sea of impenetrable trash.
Labelled the world’s largest beach clean, Mumbai recognised the damage that plastic is causing and banned all disposable plastic. Turtles have recently been seen on the same beach, the first time in 20 years.
In Bali, on February 24, it took 20,000 people to clean up the beaches of trash. Most of the plastic was coming from neighbouring countries, but Bali recognised that tourism was suffering as people were put off by the dirty beaches.
More recently, the Dominican Republic is feeling the plastic pain. A local beach is so strewn with plastic that the seawater is barely visible. Five hundred public workers were called in to deal with the crisis, including the military. Thirty tonnes of plastic were collected in three days alone.
Some smaller countries rely upon tourism and fishing to survive. Both of these industries are at risk from the plastic crisis. Many Governments are realising this and taking action, yet our country seems to be doing very little.
There are thousands of groups forming, all with a common goal. We want change and we want it now.
In the eight months since Blue Planet, what has changed? Supermarkets are using just as much plastic. We don’t have a bottle return scheme and we don’t even have a unified national approach to recycling. We are falling behind many countries. We all have to be responsible and reduce plastic.
World Clean Up Day falls over the weekend of September 14 to 17, which is the Great British Beach Clean, organised by the Marine Conservation Society. Litter Bugs has registered Amble and Hauxley as part of the campaign. We will provide dates and times in our next article.
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