European Union External Action

#EUBeachCleanup goes online

Our ocean starts with you!

We have all seen images or read the worrying reports: plastic rubbish is piling up in our oceans and littering our beaches. Animals get caught in ghost nets, and micro plastics enter our food chain. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whilst the key to fighting marine litter is to stop it at the source - using less, recycling more - cleaning matters as well. Together, we can turn a drop in the ocean into a wave of change.

Every year in September, the EU organises an ocean-activism and awareness-raising campaign - #EUBeachCleanup - featuring events across the world. In 2019, over 40,000 volunteers were mobilised in nearly 80 countries. Across social media, the campaign has had huge impact, reaching millions with its positive message of change for sustainability. Partnering with the United Nations and the bluest of friends, the Smurfs, the EU strongly believes that we can all make a real difference for our blue planet, taking responsible action as individuals and collectively.

For the 2020 edition, we are calling for more localised engagement, as group actions may pose risks to public health. Under the headline “our ocean starts with you”, we invite you to take up our challenge: reduce your water consumption, shop for less packaging, sort your rubbish… You literally can “clean the beach from home”! Follow the hashtag #EUBeachCleanup or our social media accounts and stay tuned for the challenges!

Where possible, local #EUBeachCleanup events will be organised in September, applying all necessary safety precautions. You can check our calendar, to see what is happening near you. Or why not organise your own event? Keep us posted and have your event added to the official campaign calendar.

#EUBeachCleanup is part of the #EUGreenDeal.

#EUBeachCleanup challenge

Take up the challenge of protecting our oceans from your home.

For four weeks, we will be presenting weekly challenges. Take a picture, share it on social media and use the hashtag #EUBeachCleanup!


Challenge #4 - Sort your waste

More than 80% of beach litter in the EU is plastics. The non-plastic part is often inert or biodegradable, and has a lower environmental impact. So, where does this plastic come from? Less than 30% of plastic waste is collected for recycling in the EU, putting the remaining plastics in landfills or incinerated. Our landfills are the main source for these items, and plastic finds its way to the sea through drainage and wind.

This week (10-19 September) take part in the challenge and ensure that all the trash you produce is correctly sorted to save our oceans! Take a picture, share it on social media and use the hashtag #EUBeachCleanup!

Challenge #3 - Reduce water consumption

Water is a limited resource and fresh water a scarce one, but we still take it for granted and consume more than we need. Taking a five-minute shower uses 37 to 94 litres of water (source: EPA), but typically 20% of the duration of every shower is essentially lost. This week (3 – 9 September) take part in the challenge and reduce water consumption on your daily activities.

Challenge #2 - Shop for less packaging

We use it for a few minutes, but it lasts hundreds of years...  Did you know that around 50% of the plastic beach litter in the EU are single-use plastics? This week (27 August - 2 September) say no to disposables and find good eco-friendly alternatives!


Challenge #1 - Clean your neighbourhood

Most marine litter originates on land, so cleaning your suroundings is a great start to preseve clean oceans and seas. This week (19-26 August), look around your neighbourhood and check what can you do to prevent litter arriving to the ocean! Remember: the ocean starts right at our doorstep!


View upcoming #EUBeachCleanup activities worldwide



Cada año, en septiembre, la UE organiza una campaña de concienciación y activismo oceánico -#EUBeachCleanUp- con eventos en todo el mundo. Este año, debido a la pandemia del COVID19, la acción en Argentina tuvo lugar el sábado 28 de noviembre 2020

Une ambiance familiale sur la plage publique de Mont Choisy pour clôturer la campagne 'Nou lagon nou leritaz, ensam anou protez nou laplaz'.


On Saturday morning 10 October, over 300 participants joined us on the Lumley and Aberdeen beaches of Freetown for our annual #EUBeachCleanup ocean-activism action. Due to COVID restrictions, the event was organised at 5 separate locations.

Le lagon et les plages du sud-est de l’île Maurice ont récemment été le théâtre d’un déversement de près de 600 tonnes d’hydrocarbures suite au naufrage d’un navire de transport de marchandises en vrac. Cette catastrophe, qui a suscité une vague d’émotion à Maurice et à l'étranger, a un impact environnemental conséquent (pollution du lagon, des plages et des mangroves et conséquences négatives sur la vie marine).

‘Our ocean starts with you!’ was the theme for the 2020 digital edition of the #EUBeachCleanUp, as the campaign took to social media reminding us that ocean protection begins at home. For the past month up until World Coastal Cleanup day, people across the globe took on challenges to clean their neighbourhood, shop for less packaging, reduce water consumption, and sort waste. EU High Representative Josep Borrell praised these actions saying “Even the smallest actions from home can have an impact on our oceans. #EUBeachCleanUp is a great individual and collective action of volunteers around the world to keep beaches clean and protect marine life.”

Ahead of World Cleanup Day, the EU is collaborating with Let’s Do It El Salvador and the Salvadoran Government in a nationwide effort to galvanise community-led responses to climate change. Last year, through the #EUBeachCleanup and the #EUGreenDeal initiatives in El Salvador, the EU helped collect over 1.06 tonnes of waste in Playa Las Hojas, mobilised hundreds of Salvadorans to cycle for the environment, and promoted sustainable community parks.

The annual event will bring together civil society, students, the United Nations, local authorities, and the general public to clean a beautiful beach, and to raise awareness of plastics pollution and the deterioration of coastal vegetation.


#EUBeachCleanUp 2020 (Wrap-up Video)
#EUBeachCleanup 2020: Our Ocean Starts with You

On Friday, 30 October, in Herzliya, the European Union joined the World’s Biggest Beach Clean-up taking place at over a hundred locations across Israel. In the presence of Israeli officials, EU Ambassadors, diplomats and their families joined the annual EU Beach Clean Up as part of an ambitious effort by Israel’s environmental CSOs, and Municipalities to break the record for the biggest beach clean-up in the world, aptly named the World’s Biggest Beach Clean Up.

EU Beach Clean-up 2020
Campaña #EUBeachCleanUp 2020: El océano comienza contigo

Los ecuatorianos se comprometen al cuidado de los océanos desde sus hogares

#EUBeachCleanUp 2020

Previous Editions

#EUBeachCleanUp across the planet
Global Beach Clean-Up 2018
EU protects #OurOcean 2017

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