Ocean Initiatives beach clean-ups
The Ocean Initiatives programme – which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019 – is part of Surfrider Foundation Europe’s campaigning efforts to raise awareness on the issue of marine litter through field collection of data and citizen science.
In 2019, 2,279 litter collections were organised in 54 countries, bringing together 83,417 people in this citizen science programme. Thanks to the information gathered, Surfrider has been able to alert decision-makers and businesses on the urgency of plastics and microplastics’ pollution, backing up their arguments with concrete figures and examples of the most polluting items impacting European coastlines and water bodies.
The programme releases an annual report to highlight the top ten items most commonly found in Europe and per sea basin and to share impactful stories on the mobilisation against marine litter. According to the 2019 environmental report issued in 2020, the single most collected item in 2019 was cigarette butts. A total of 4,027,435 cigarette butts were collected, representing 400 times the height of the Eiffel Tower.
Ocean Initiatives has recently teamed up with the European Environment Agency and is inviting organisers to report data through the Marine Litter Watch app.