Ocean Initiatives, Europe

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Surfrider Foundation Europe is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of Europe’s oceans, seas, beaches, lakes, rivers and coastlines.
 
Beach litter.  Image Surfrider Europe
Beach litter. Image Surfrider Europe

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The Project

Every year 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean.  More than a million marine animals are killed each year by plastic pollution through entanglement, suffocation and ingestion. Since starting in 1990, Surfrider Foundation Europe has placed the problem of marine litter at the heart of its mission.  It has been organising Ocean Initiatives for almost 25 years, aimed at raising awareness and educating the public on the issue of marine litter through waste collections  The overall objectives of the Ocean Initiatives programme are (i) limiting new waste generation, (ii) promoting a circular economy for 100% of generated waste and, (iii) limiting the impact of existing waste in the environment. EOCA funding will be used to fund the on-going successful clean-up programme, whilst expanding into new areas such as in-ocean cleans. 2018 broke the record for the number of participants and collections organised and this year the target is for 1000 volunteers to organise at least 1600 clean up events, mobilising 60,000 people in 47 countries in Europe and beyond, educating 100,000 people. Data on the number and type of collected items from 1195km of beach will fuel scientific research and underpin lobbying of the EU for stricter targets on the reduction of waste and pollution entering our oceans.
 
Cleaning beaches.  Image Surfrider Europe
Cleaning beaches. Image Surfrider Europe

The Update

Funds raised by EOCA Members and the general public have contributed towards Surfrider’s impressive 2019 result of cleaning 2,760km of beaches, lakes and rivers! This involved 2,280 collections, engaged 90,000 participants in 52 countries. Their online educational resources have reached 100,000 people.

Surfrider are also continuing their efforts to:
- raise awareness on marine litter issues to promote sustainable solutions;
- collect scientific data on the litter collected to fuel scientific research and innovation;
- undertake lobbying campaigns to improve legislation and also improve production and consumption systems; and
- encourage people to volunteer in their numerous on the ground actions.

Next steps:
Actions are currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Surfrider hope to launch their ever important Ocean Initiatives Campaign 2020 in September.
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If you are an individual who loves the great outdoors and would like to support our projects, please click the donate button below.
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