Summer has arrived bringing with her warm winds, beautiful blooms and fruits – and an entourage of flies, mosquitos, snakes and other fun fellows. The sea is warming up nicely too. The flow of debris has no seasonal preference – it continues to spill onto the shore all year round.
One a bad day beach cleaning can feel like the labours of Sisyphus – forced to roll a huge boulder up the hill, almost at the top it rolls back to the bottom, and you have to start all over again.
The hill in this case is unfortunately made of plastic items such as water bottles, straws, clothes pegs, frappe cups, cutlery, plastic cups, lego, lighters etc.
When this feeling sneaks up on you it’s good to visit some of the many initiatives – governmental, business and private – that are trying to deal with the plastic consumption issue in creative ways. Thankfully there are far too many to list here but here are a few.
British company, MacRebur, has developed a product from recycled plastic to fill potholes. Addressing both bad roads and plastic pollution.
Mexican start-up, Eco Domum, builds affordable homes from recycled plastic. Addressing both homelessness and plastic pollution.
Of course there are all the amazing beach cleaners across the globe, who initiate brilliant projects that inspire and keep you going.
Let’s Make Cyprus Green is a local initiative that informs on environmental issues, has an eco-shop and arranges beach cleans.
The 2 Minute Beach Clean was founded in Cornwall, UK and has grow to a nationwide movement. Making a difference in a stress free and encouraging way. Founder: Martin Dorey. Online motivator: Dolly.
Gnarly Beach Cleaner is a couple of LA based dudes, who are dedicated to educating people/ kids about plastic pollution through social media and videos. Their toy mascot octopus, Gnar-Gnar, is now travelling the world spreading the word. #makeitfunmovement
Litterati uses geotags to raise awareness about the specifics of pollution by identifying objects and locations – and looking for solutions.
There are so many great individual initiatives too of people creating art and crafts from plastic waste: Kittie Kipper, Michelle Costello, Janis Selby Jones, Plastic Monster, Plast Piraterne, Ataauagirl.hawaii to name but a few.
Plastic bags are a complete menace to the environment. Governments all over the world have started to take this issue seriously by creating recycling initiative and imposing taxes on shopping bags that invite people to think twice when loading up the shopping cart.
The first country to implement this tax was Denmark in 1994. Today bringing your own bag along to the shops is second nature to most Danes.
The UK effectualised the 5p carrier bag tax in October 2015. The number of plastic bags in use has since gone down by 80%.
In Cyprus a law enforcing carrier bag taxes was passed on January 1st 2018, with a 6 month transition period, meaning that the law will be enforced on July 1st. Until this date I have only experienced one shop asking if I wanted to buy a plastic bag – but my tote bag did the job just fine.
Below is a list of countries that have implemented taxes, recycling projects and other restrictions on plastic bag use.
- Kenya, Mali, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, South Africa
- Rwanda, Botswana
- Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and China
- Hawaii, District of Columbia, Seattle, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico
- Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia – have put recycling measures into effect.
- England, Italy, Wales, Scotland, Germany, Denmark
Sources: study.com / Erin Riskey, http://cyprus-mail.com / Annette Chrysostomou, gov.co.uk
The most contemporary thing to be addressed is a ban on plastic straws. Multiple businesses, events and cities are taking a stand on this including – Wimbledon, Malibu (CA), Tottenham Hotspur, Oakland (CA), 60 UK music festivals, and even McDonalds! Watch this space…
Happy Beach Clean up includes:
1 ice cream tub
1 kit-kat wrapper
Printer ink cartridge
3 empty pill sheets
A tobacco pouch
Trousers (4 yrs)
1 pair of flip-flops
1 light strip
1 rubber ring
Bits of fabric
Bits of plastic
A pink rucksack
35 plastic bottles
1 hypodermic needle
1 sanity pad
6 cigarette butts
1 pair of waders (green)
2 glow sticks
6 hair bands
2 buck shot cases
Plastic cutlery / 3 forks/ 4 spoons/ 2 knives
Kilos lifted: 22,3