Every 9 May, the European Union celebrates peace and unity on ‘Europe Day’. This year the 9th of May is also a day for an unique action – Let´s Do It Mediterranean aims for a million people to clean up the Mediterranean Sea. Involving so many people is not just about cleaning up trash but transforming their way of thinking. The de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, including coastal and protected marine areas is crucial as contamination of the Mediterranean Sea is very high and the level of plastic waste in the sea is beyond critical. In certain places the volume of micro plastic in the water exceeds that of plankton.
Also, considering the political relations between several countries in the Mediterranean region, it is very special that people are working together for the same, non-political and non-violent cause for instance in Egypt, Israel and Palestine. The clean up has already started from Greece, Cyprus and Croatia and next events all around the Mediterranean will be this weekend, 9th and 10th of May.
In Malta over 50 sites on land and sea will be scoured and cleaned by thousands of volunteers. The environmental movement, “Let’s Do It! Malta” (LDI Malta) will coordinate the massive effort. Everything from picnic litter to illegally dumped waste to abandoned cars will be collected and properly disposed. The immediate effect will be a cleaner country, while the down-the-road benefit will be greater environmental awareness and concern among all who live in Malta.
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella will also participate in his home village in Malta: “I am honoured to join the other volunteers for this clean-up operation. Rolling up our sleeves and cleaning up our neighbourhood is not just an environmental gesture. It also makes economic sense because the cost of environmental pollution is so high. What we do on land ends up in the sea – be it plastics, micro-plastics or other litter. The trick is to remember this is our daily lives, so we reduce amounts at the source of the problem and not just at the end point”.
In Spain, France and Italy clean up will be in close cooperation with Let’s Clean Up Europe!” initiative. Albania holds a huge clean-up together with Kosovo on Friday 22nd of May. Algeria will have a clean-up on the 9th of May, Bosnia and Herzegovina clean-up is on the 9th of May, Croatia had a national clean-up just last month and will have a blue clean-up this Saturday in 20 cities. Egypt will hold 2 beach clean-ups along the coast. Lebanon will have Operation Big Blue on the 10th of May, a huge action across the entire coast. Libya has a supportive clean-up in Tripoli. Tunisia is organizing supportive event in La Marsa. Turkey is organizing huge national action, aiming for 81 provinces.
Even though beach and sea cleanups have been organised before, an action on such a scale has never been attempted. The goal of Let´s Do It! Mediterranean campaign is that in five years’ time the Mediterranean Sea would be a clean and biologically diverse environment where every citizen takes full responsibility for the environmental state of the area. By annual clean-up campaigns it is planned to collect all possible floating and sunken garbage from coastal areas and trash from the remote beaches in all Mediterranean countries at the same time. This is a new addition for the vision to unite separate European states into a single community and also for wider cross-border cooperation. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.
In addition to the direct environmental benefits from the cleanup itself, LDIM aims to raise awareness and demonstrate that problems of such magnitude can only be solved if we all work together. Massive participation will show the wider picture of the waste problem to public and drive governments to implement legislation mandating installation of sewage systems, storm drain filters, to relocate open dump sites from coastlines, to ban plastic bags and to introduce modern waste management techniques. Recruiting volunteers from the general populations will encourage them through personal involvement to change their view of the environment and their waste habits.
LDIM is declared to be an official partner for Union for the Mediterranean together with MedPan and Horizon2020.
More information about Let’s Do It! Mediterranean action:
Let’s Do It! Mediterranean
Public Relations & Communication
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