Delegation of the European Union to Uganda

#EUBeachCleanup: Together to protect marine life

18/09/2021 - 08:00
News stories

From the heart of Europe to the world… the #EUBeachCleanup campaign together with the UN and The Smurfs, reached its peak on World Coastal Clean-up Day, and across the globe, people continue cleaning beaches, lakes, rivers and other areas in their neighbourhood, to prevent litter from getting into the ocean, and protect our fascinating marine life from being destroyed.

#EUBeachCleanup, beach cleaning, climate action, #EUGreenDeal, ocean protection, protecting marine biodiversity


Every year, millions of tons of litter end up in the ocean with a direct and deadly effect on wildlife from seabirds to whales, fish to invertebrates. Marine pollution starts on land and is one of the main drivers of the depletion of marine biodiversity. This is why since 2017 the EU has organised the annual #EUBeachCleanup campaign, making a strong call to action to protect the ocean at a global level, in both landlocked and coastal areas.


“Our actions impact our oceans. It’s our choice: either we continue polluting our ocean with marine litter, or we take action and clean our seas. #EUBeachCleanup is a great individual and collective action of volunteers around the world to keep beaches clean and protect marine life. It’s needed, it’s urgent, everyone can contribute to restoring our planet.”

- High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell



 “Restoring biodiversity, protecting the ocean and empowering citizens are all high on the EU’s agenda. The true power of #EUBeachCleanup is that it brings all these together and gains worldwide attention. It’s about walking the talk and turning the European Green Deal into global blue action. Join us. Together, we can make a difference.”

- Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius


#EUBeachCleanup is a global awareness-raising campaign set to boost concrete actions for the protection of the oceans. This year the campaign is focused on the protection of marine biodiversity with the theme, “Together to protect marine life”, in line with the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15).


For the 2021 edition of the #EUBeachCleanup campaign, the EU joined forces with ActNow, the United Nations' campaign for individual action on climate change and sustainability. Participants have been joining the movement not only on physical events but also via the ActNow app, where they have been creating teams and sharing the number of bags of litter collected.


This weekend in particular, to mark World Coastal Clean-up day, several countries across the globe are taking part in clean-up initiatives that have been taking place since June. Let’s take a tour around the world to get a closer look at some of this year's events!

And of course, as in previous years, The Smurfs are touring with us!






New Zealand
















El Salvador




The Netherlands


Hong Kong























New York







Click on the image to read the full story



Click on the image to view the photo gallery


For this year's special edition of the #EUBeachCleanup campaign, we also went to the Belgian coast to follow the story of Simba the baby seal who was found lying on the beach with a plastic ring around its neck. Watch Simba’s story.


Simba’s story ends happily as he is rescued and healed and set free, back into the ocean, but unfortunately this is not the case for many sea animals. In Singapore, Raphaël Mang, took a deep dive underwater to explore what lies beneath. While admiring the colourful sea slugs and beautiful seahorses, he came across the sad sight of fish and crabs trapped in plastic wires and other litter from forks to ghost nets… Watch Raphaël’s story.



From deep below to way up high... not even the sky is the limit for the #EUBeachCleanup, we are also being followed from space!


The #EUBeachCleanup also presents creative ideas for a sustainable lifetsyle...



We also remind you that ocean protection begins at home - cleaning up our neighbourhoods is an important first step to prevent litter from getting into the ocean and protecting our sealife!



#EUBeachCleanup Bois de la CambreClick on the image to view the photo gallery with some images from a clean-up by volunteers in Brussels, that took place on Sunday 26 September at Bois de La Cambre


The ocean thanks you!