Pacific islands to join the planet for an International Coastal Cleanup
- Published on 16 September 2016
Volunteers from ten island nations, American Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu joined forces with close to 800,000 volunteers in 2015 to commemorate the event which collected over 18 million pounds of waste across the planet.
All waste collected is stored in the Ocean Trash Index, having been recorded by item and by the Ocean Conservancy each year culminating in a global snapshot of the marine debris found across the world.
Global results for 2015 have shown that cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and, straws and stirrers are the top five items collected globally. There were 39 toilets and toilet seats collected, 435 toothbrushes, 149 shopping carts, 97 TV's and 28 refrigerators.
The aim of the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup is to work with volunteers to collect waste from coasts and waterways, help determine the sources of debris and change the behaviours that help cause the problem.
"I think the findings for 2015 should be a wakeup call for many," said Mr Anthony Talouli, the Pollution Adviser of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
"These cleanup measures help ease the pressure on our planet and to record the waste collected. Sadly the results from these cleanups are a reflection on how easy it is for many of us across the globe to dispose of our waste without a thought as to how it impacts on our environment. We really need to make a difference within our homes and then see the positive effects of this ripple across our planet."
This year the PacWaste Project is providing support to the International Coastal Cleanup in five countries Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu with Samoa planning to hold a second 'follow-up' Coastal Cleanup at the end of October.
"PacWaste is pleased to support this initiative which highlights the importance of proper waste management. We are hopeful more Pacific islands will take part in this event," said Mr Jesús Laviña, Head of Section for Natural Resources and Infrastructure at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific.
PacWaste (Pacific Hazardous Waste) is a €7.85 million, four year project supported by the European Union and implemented by SPREP to improve regional hazardous waste management across the Pacific. PacWaste has four focus areas – asbestos, E-waste, healthcare waste and integrated atoll waste management.
"There is still more time for other Pacific islands to be part of this global initiative," said Mr Talouli.
"We'd really like to see our Pacific island region making a strong impact in helping to clean our beaches and waterways, our waters play such a large role in the lives of Pacific islanders, everything we can do to help stop marine debris and pollution from dirtying this valuable resource, the better."
More information on the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup event can be found at www.oceanconservancy.org. Should you wish to register an event you can do so at the same website.
For further information on how to record your event with SPREP please email firstname.lastname@example.org.