Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea

MAY 2021 UPDATE:  WE DID IT!!!  4,160KM OF CLEAN-UP! 
Read more HERE

Following on from the success of the 2 Million Tree project, EOCA was delighted to be launching its new 2 year focus in Jan 2019:  Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea. The headline target for this Focus was that EOCA and its members would collectively clear 3000km of habitat, trail and beach of plastic waste and pollution over the next 2 years. That is the distance from the Mediterranean coast to Lapland!

As part of the plastic focus, EOCA launched a Fundraising Project that is looking for your help.  Anyone can get involved in providing funding for it and implementing it- help us raise more money and deliver more cleanups, education, reduction and reuse of single use plastic.  Lets leave a positive legacy from the European outdoor industry and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere! See below for more details.
 
Mountain to Sea Logo
Mountain to Sea Logo

300 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually globally, 8 million tonnes of which enter the oceans each year.  80% of marine plastics originates from land sources – impacting on all habitats and wild places, threatening wildlife, food safety, human health and contributing to climate change.  The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) considers plastic marine debris and its ability to transport harmful substances as one of the main emerging issues affecting the environment.

Plastic pollution is found in mountains, around crags, along and in rivers and lakes, forests and coastlines impacting disastrously on wildlife and blighting every type of habitat and landscape enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts.  A lot of the plastic waste will find its way to lakes and rivers and ultimately end up in the oceans where it wil degrade, releasing toxic chemicals as it does so.  100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed every year through entanglement or by ingesting plastic litter.

As an organisation raising money to look after the health and well-being of the planet, EOCA is committed to playing its part in achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.  SDG 14 (Life Below Water) is one of those highlighted by EOCA as of utmost of relevance to its own vision and new focus as it aims to "prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution".

With this in mind, EOCA works with its members and the European outdoor industry to clean up plastic waste from habitats from the summits of mountains to the shores of the seas, whilst also reducing their use of everyday single-use plastics.  This ran in conjunction with educating and inspiring outdoor enthusiasts to get involved to combat the issues.

 
Beach litter.  Image Surfrider Europe
Beach litter. Image Surfrider Europe

The headline target for this 2 year focus was that EOCA and its members would collectively clear 3000km of habitat, trail and beach of plastic waste and pollution over the next 2 years. That is the distance from the Mediterranean coast to Lapland!

Over the two years of the focus, EOCA funded a number of projects which tackle the issue of plastic pollution around the world. These projects were chosen through the usual application, assessment and voting processes. (We also continued to fund a broad range of other conservation projects over this period). In addition, we launched a Fundraising Project looking for support from you! You can read all about these projects contributing to the target as they are selected for support by EOCA below.

In addition to supporting the cleaning up of plastic pollution already doing harm in the environment, we also worked with EOCA members to reduce the use of everyday single use plastic by the industry. Please click on the Plastic Pledge tab to read more about this work.

We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage