European Union External Action

1,527.8kg of waste collected at #EUBeachCleanup 2021 at Laboma Beach, Accra

05/10/2021 - 18:38
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Beach clean ups are not a solution to plastic pollution in the oceans but are a way to create awareness and inspire a behavioral change of people. This is exactly what happened in Accra.

 

The European Union, in partnership with Plastic Punch a non-profit organization aimed at protecting the environment from plastic waste, organised the #EUBeachCleanup to clean the Laboma Beach, a turtle-nesting beach in Accra, on 25 October 2021.

 

 

 

The event attracted a large number of volunteers, including Ghanaians, Europeans together with representatives of the EU member states in Ghana, as well as children.

Representatives of the Embassies of Germany, Netherlands, Malta, Hungary, Norway, Switzerland, Australian High Commission, United Nations in Ghana, Plastic Punchers, NGOs, local residents were present atthe event that counted the participation of 300 volunteers.

 

Ghana’s fastest rapper and award winning artist, Sarkodie, joined volunteers. His celebrity  status enhanced the visibility of the event to create further awareness.

 

During the Saturday morning event, all items collected at the beach were sorted by type of plastic and weighted on a scale to get an idea of the quantity and characteristics of the waste collected.

The volunteers collected 1.53 tons of waste in total, which included: 562.9 kg of PET; 191.45 kg of water sachets, 104.5 kg of disposable cups ; 18.4 kg of textiles; 297.95 kg of shoes, 174.29 kg of mixed plastics including fishing gears, 151.5 kg of Coconut husks, 3.9 kg of plastic straws, 4.3 kg of toothpaste tubes, and 0.44 kg of bottle caps. The segregated waste was forwarded to different facilities for recycling and/or disposal.

 

Marine litter and ocean pollution have an extreme impact on marine life, but also in our own life: it creates damage to the environment, to our economies, and to our health and wellbeing. Studies suggest that, globally, we are ingesting an average of 5 grams of plastic every week, the equivalent of a credit card.

This plastic contamination comes from “microplastics”, particles smaller than five millimeters, which are making their way into our food, drinking water and even the air.

 

The #EUBeachCleanup is a global movement that brings together people from around the world with one common purpose of protecting the oceans and marine life from littering and pollution. In this global movement, every action counts: not only taken at the beach, but at home; not only taken next to the ocean, but also inland.

“In a year marked by the COVID pandemic, the changing of our daily habits can also trigger positive change and can as well have a positive impact on our oceans. Each one of us can take part in this movement, no matter where we are. Each one of us can make a difference“ said Ambassador Irchad Razaaly, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ghana.

 “Cleaning up the oceans is fundamental, but it cannot be the main strategy to deal with the problem of marine litter, which needs to be tackled at its source. Improved waste and wastewater management, increased recycling, avoidance of single-use products and product eco-design, can efficiently prevent marine litter. Such behavioral and policy choices require intensive education and awareness raising”.

 

The EU is committed to supporting Ghana not only in the awareness raising, but also in finding environmentally, socially and economically sustainable solutions to solve the waste problem in Ghana.

 A “brand audit” was also conducted by Plastic Punch team on the plastic waste collected to identify the companies responsible for plastic pollution, raise awareness among decision makers and the general public, and foster behavioral change among the responsible brands through scientific data and citizens’ action.

According to Plastic Punch Director, Richmond Kennedy Quarcoo, beach clean-ups are not the solution to the plastic pollution, but serve as an important awareness tool to bring citizens in contact with the problem, thereby inspiring the needed behavioral change, safe-guarding sea turtle nesting beaches, as well as collecting essential independent data on marine pollutants to influence policy direction.

 

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