On Sunday 14 May, hundreds of EU staff and their families gathered in Ostend, on the Belgian coast, for the first major beach clean-up organised by the European Commission to raise awareness about marine litter ahead of the international Our Ocean conference in October. EU embassies around the world will host similar events during 2017, while actions also took place yesterday in Tanzania, Mauritania, Slovenia, Spain, Poland and Italy.
"Each and every one of us can act against dirty beaches and polluted oceans. I am proud today to see my own staff leading by example. Beach clean-ups are certainly important to fight against the millions of tons of trash already in our seas. But preventing litter from ever reaching the sea is even more crucial. At the Our Ocean conference in October, the European Union will bring together global leaders from governments, business and civil society to tackle marine pollution and other ocean-related threats. Companies, with their entrepreneurial spirit and fresh thinking, have a particular role to play," said Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
With yesterday's action, supported by the NGOs Surfrider Foundation Europe and WWF, the European Commission calls on national and local authorities around the world to organise similar events and raise awareness about this growing and alarming phenomenon.
The action is also a call to forward-looking corporate leaders to harness their spirit of initiative and innovation and commit to protecting our oceans at the fourth edition of the international #OurOcean conference, hosted by the European Union in Malta on 5-6 October.
Companies might pledge, for example, to reduce plastic consumption and waste, to source seafood from sustainable sources only, or to fund innovative conservation projects.
For more information visit ourocean2017.org/our-ocean-commitments or contact MARE-OOC-2017_BUSINESS@ec.europa.eu
Twitter: @EU_MARE #OurOcean
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