As part of its newly-launched focus on plastic clean-up, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has launched a public fundraiser to raise money to help reduce single use plastic. The project, part of Surfrider Foundation Europe’s ‘Ocean Initiatives’ programme will work to raise awareness and educate thousands of people through waste collection and clean-up events.
Plastic pollution is found in mountains, around crags, in rivers and lakes, forests, coastlines and oceans, impacting disastrously on wildlife and blighting every type of habitat and landscape enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts. It is estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed every year through entanglement or by ingesting plastic litter.
As an organisation raising money to look after the health and well-being of the planet, EOCA is committed to playing its part in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. SDG 14 (Life Below Water) is one of those highlighted by EOCA as of utmost of relevance to its own vision and new focus as it aims to “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution”.
With this in mind, EOCA will work with its members and the European outdoor industry to reduce their use of everyday single use plastics, whist also raising awareness through the organisation of clean ups to educate people on how to stop plastic waste from getting into wild habitats from the summits of mountains to the depths of the oceans. The headline target is that EOCA and its members will collectively clear 3000km of habitat, trail and beach of plastic waste and pollution over the next 2 years. That is the distance from the Mediterranean coast to Lapland! Whilst EOCA’s public vote is now underway to select its first conservation projects for 2019, the association has also launched this public fundraiser to raise further money for and get involved in another vital project.
Since starting in 1990, Surfrider Foundation Europe has placed the problem of marine litter at the heart of its mission. The overall objectives of its ‘Ocean Initiatives’ programme, which has been running for almost 25 years, are to limit new waste generation, promote a circular economy for 100% of generated waste and limit the impact of existing waste in the environment. EOCA funding will help organise at least 1600 public clean-up events, expanding into new areas such as in-ocean cleans, mobilising 60,000 people in 47 countries, and educating 100,000 people. Data on the number and type of collected items from 1195km of beaches, lakes, rivers and seabeds all over the world will fuel scientific research and underpin lobbying of the EU for stricter targets on the reduction of waste and pollution entering our oceans.
EOCA is calling on individuals and companies to donate via their website to fund this ambitious project. Every €10 donated via EOCA will help fund an area of 50 metres squared – the area of two olympic size swimming pools!– of clean-ups. Please see the donate button on www.outdoorconservation.eu or www.eoca.de . There is also the option to go onto www.oceaninitiatives.org to find a clean up event to get involved in.