Every year millions of tons of trash end up in the ocean. It is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea.
This year the European Union and the United Nations are teaming up to clean beaches across the world and invite citizens everywhere to take part.
Despite the heavy rain, the volunteers covered a distance of 1.9 kilometres on the King Gray beach, and collected and sorted 3,781 Kilograms of various forms of trash, which were separated, for adequate waste management and processing. 63% of the total waste collected (2,399 Kilograms) were hard and soft plastic materials.
The EU Delegation partnered with YMCA, the Paynesville, Monrovia and Brewerville City Corporations, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Liberia National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Commission, the Embassy of Sweden, Cities Alliance (EU's implementing partner in the waste sector) and Community-based Enterprises (CBEs).
Volunteers were mobilized from communities along the beach, as well as local youth groups. 30 students from nature clubs of 4 high schools which are part of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA+) supported projects in Liberia took part in the event. Members of the EU Delegation, the Diplomatic Missions of Germany, Ireland and Sweden, and other organizations, also participated.
The total amount of waste collected was weighed on the spot and divided in five types of trash (hard plastics, soft plastic materials, hazardous wastes, cans and glass) based on the currently available technology and market for recycled plastics and revalorisation of waste. At the closing of the event, the hazardous waste was taken to a hospital for proper disposal. The hard and soft plastics, as well as the cans and glass bottles, were taken by the local small enterprises to be recycled. Only a mere 30% of the waste we collected ended up at the landfill.
During the clean-up event, the Chargé d'Affaires a. i. of the EU Delegation to Liberia, Juan Antonio Frutos, emphasized that the task of ensuring a better, cleaner and healthier future is the responsibility of everyone, and expressed the hope that the event will help in keeping the beach clean and promoting new ways of reusing and recycling plastic waste.
"With this event, we want to raise awareness about the importance of clean oceans, for our lives and our future. The oceans protect the environment and provide the air that we breathe. It is vital to keep the oceans clean, for ourselves, for our children and future generations. We call on everybody to continue the effort. It is everyone's responsibility, every day, everywhere; in our houses, by reducing the amount of plastic we use and dispose, and in our neighbourhoods, by keeping the beaches clean", Juan Antonio said.
The EU Chargé d'Affaires recognized the support of EU's partners and expressed deep gratitude to the volunteers, especially from the King Gray and Paynesville communities, for their great work despite the heavy rain.
At the close of the event, the EU Delegation handed over the tools and equipment used for the clean-up to communities that participated, to help empower them to continue cleaning and maintaining the beach.
This was the second #EUBeachCleanup event organized by the EU Delegation to Liberia. In September 2018, over 500 volunteers also collected hundreds of kilograms of waste on the beach in Congo Town, Monrovia.
The two beach clean-up events follow on commitments from the Our Ocean Conference (OCC) in Malta 2017, where the EU reaffirmed its leading role on ocean governance and pledged to act and help build momentum behind the global call for cleaner and safer seas.
The EU Delegation and the EU Member States present in Liberia are actively supporting Liberia's efforts to address key environmental challenges, including degradation of natural resources (forestry, land and water) and loss of biodiversity (forests, ecosystems, marine, wetlands and mangroves).
King Gray Beach