The scale of plastic pollution in Timor-Leste is enormous. In a small nation of just 1.3 million people, 1 billion plastic bags and 125 million plastic bottles are used and discarded every year. Much of the nearly 70 tonnes of plastic generated every day ends up on beaches, dumped there, or washed up.
Therefore, the European Union, the United Nations and “Movimento Tasi Mos” are teaming up on 19 September, International Coastal Clean-up Day, both to clean up a beautiful beach and to send out a strong message. The venue is Dolok Oan beach in Dili and everyone is invited to take part.
This year, in addition to clearing up rubbish, participants will plant 500 palm trees along the beach to raise awareness of the importance of beach biodiversity and of ending the practice of cutting trees for to make fires.
“We are fortunate to live in a beautiful country on a beautiful blue planet. We must protect and preserve our planet for our children and our children’s children. But we are quickly destroying it. For instance, we let rubbish pile up on our beaches. It poisons the oceans and the animals that live in them. Micro-plastics enter the food chain and poison us. Let’s work together to make a difference. Let’s clean Dolok Oan beach and plant trees to make it more beautiful. Let’s show everyone that we need to change our behaviour if this blue planet is going to sustain our lives in the future. Bring your friends, colleagues, and family along.” said Andrew Jacobs, EU ambassador to Timor-Leste.
Every year in September, the EU organises an ocean-activism and awareness-raising campaign - #EUBeachCleanup - featuring events across the world. This coincides with International Coastal Clean-up Day. In 2019, over 40,000 volunteers were mobilised in nearly 80 countries. Across social media, the campaign has had a 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 people to take up the challenge: reduce water consumption, shop for less packaging, separate rubbish and stop burning the coastal vegetation that is endangering the biodiversity.
The #EUBeachCleanup in Timor-Leste - organised applying all necessary safety precautions - will take place at Dolok Oan beach on Saturday 19 September from 15:30 until sunset.