Why September’s A Huge Month For Ocean Cleanup...
Over the past 18 months the awareness around single-use plastics and ocean pollution has seen an unprecedented amount of mainstream media coverage. Thanks to the increased pressure built around these issues, we have seen plastic become publicly vilified, global businesses implement changes to their take-out operations and the next steps being made in a national bottle deposit scheme. These are all huge strides in the right direction, but we still have a bit of mess to clean up.
Well, that’s actually quite an understatement. We still have an unimaginable amount of plastic in the ocean and as it consistently washes up on shores all around the world, we have a duty to clean up this mess for the benefit of future generations. As the Native American saying goes, “We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our grandchildren.”
Perhaps what’s most inspiring though, is that so many of you have taken matters into your own hands and embraced litter picking on visits to the beach. #2MinuteBeachClean has been a great inspiration and so successful that there are now stations on beaches all over the country where you can find a litter picker and litter bags. They are also expanding from beach cleaning to the #2MinuteLitterPick and #2MinuteStreetClean, proving you don't need to live near the sea to do your bit in cleaning up the planet and stopping all that litter finding its way into the oceans (yes, 80% of ocean litter comes from the land!).
The Seabin is another innovation that’s gained traction in marinas and harbours and works to capture floating plastics and waste in an easily-emptied bag.
We also love the idea behind the trials taking place in Australia where large nets are being installed at the outlet of storm drains. This incredibly cheap, simple installation could be used all over the world to prevent a vast amount of litter from entering our waterways after heavy rainfall.
On a grander scale, The Ocean Cleanup deployed the first in a series of ‘systems’ on 9th September. The impressive 600 metre long, self-navigating collection device will clean up ocean plastics in huge swathes and is predicted to clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years. If successful, we could significantly reduce the amount of plastic in all four ocean garbage patches and beyond!
This September 15th was World Cleanup Day, which happily coincided with International Coastal Cleanup, an initiative that’s been running for 30 years and spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy. Thousands of you flocked to your local beaches, riverbanks, forests and local parks to haul in as much plastic and general litter as humanly possible. What’s more, around 150 different countries took part with volunteers estimated to number in the millions. Give yourselves a huge pat on the back! 💚🌍
We have a long way to go, but there are a lot of inspiring and impactful initiatives coming to fruition and change is most certainly happening. Exciting (and hopeful?) times indeed.