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EU, UN and Smurfs help clean up world's beaches

19 September 2019, 17:22 CET
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EU, UN and Smurfs help clean up world's beaches

Zakhintos, Greece - Photo Pixabay

(WORLDWIDE) - EU staff joined hands with local communities, and the Smurfs, on beaches across Europe and the world on Thursday, as part of the #EUBeachCleanUp campaign to clean up marine litter.

Launched on 19 August, this year's campaign will run through October, culminating on Saturday 21 September, the International Coastal CleanUp Day, with actions taking place in over 80 countries, on all inhabited continents.

This year, thanks to innovative partnerships with the United Nations and the Smurfs, the campaign reaches thousands of citizens of all ages. The success of #EUBeachCleanup relies on its combination of awareness-raising – with a powerful social media presence - and very concrete call to action: come and join us at your beach!

The EU's Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said he is proud of the campaign and invited everyone to participate:

"The European Union has some of the most ambitious policies to fight marine pollution in the world," he said: "Together with the United Nations, we want our oceans to be cleaner and healthier - in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 14.".

He also announced this year's new partner: the Smurfs: "Blue, brave and with an exceptional appeal to young and old, they are the ideal partners of our campaign. Join our events and help us build a global wave of ocean activism!''

The many #EUBeachCleanUp events, happening in the coming weeks, will each bring tons of litter from seas and shores to local waste management facilities.

The events are organised by EU embassies and UN offices across the world, jointly with local authorities, schools, NGOs and private companies. Through the campaign, the EU and partners want to engage the public and raise awareness, particularly among children and youth. When picking up litter from the beach, people will recognize many single use items: cotton buds, straws, plastic bags or cutlery… Being part of the event can, says the EU executive, spur long-term behavioural change.

Every year, 8 million tons of plastic litter are dumped into the sea and beach clean-ups. While the Commission acknowledges that the campaign will not on its own solve what is a massive challenge, it says prevention is key.

The EU has also adopted a European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy along with legislative measures to reduce the production and consumption of the 10 single-use plastic items most commonly found in marine litter.

EU Beach Clean Up 2019

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