Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution

Today, Sunday 22nd of April is Earth Day, where the mission is to end plastic pollution. Plastic pollution has luckily gained a lot of awareness this past year in Norway. On a recent survey by Norad, 7 out of 10 Norwegians answered that plastic pollution should be Norways most urgent environmental cause, and that Norway has a special responsibility as a sea nation. 

I worked with marine littering almost every day in Greenpeace, and have written some fact sheets about marine littering and micro beads. Fortunately, plastic in the ocean is so easy to get engaged in, as it is clearly so wrong. It also helps with great TV series like NRKs "Planet Plast"

Also fortunately; there is so much we can do about it! First of all, we can have a close look at our own consumption and notice how much plastic, and especially disposable plastic, we use every single day, and then take the measures to reduce our overall plastic habit. But as we know, there is already so much plastic waste in the ocean. 


That is why in Norway, starting next week; its Beach Clean up Week! All over Norway, you can find your local beach and join in on cleaning your local beach for plastic. Off course, needless to say, but none the less - you can off course have every day of the year as beach clean up day! Whenever I am at home, on the South-Coast, and I see some plastic either already lying in the ocean, near the ocean, or on land, I pick it up, because eventually it all ends up in the ocean. 

There is also the recent trend of "plogging" where you jog and pick up plastic waste in nature at the same time. 

If you've ever walked a dog in nature, you know how easy it is for the dog to spot the plastic as something that is not belonging in nature. Two years ago, when I was walking my samoyed at home on a local beach, and I turned my head towards the horizon for 5 seconds, my dog had found a transparent plastic bag in the sea, and maybe mistook it for something edible, so when I turned back to look at my dog, she was half way inhaling the plastic bag. Luckily I got it out of her mouth in seconds, but it was absolutely horrible to witness and to think about what could have happened, and what has happened to so many animals living in the ocean. 


I hope the awareness created around plastic pollution will last, and continue to be at the forefront of peoples minds as we have a national and global "dugnad" (joint volunteer work) to end plastic pollution together. Happy Earth Day. 




Victory in the fight against micro beads!

In the climate battle, it is important to celebrate every win, because they don't come often enough. This time, it is the micro beads - more particularly; the rubber granules that is used on artificial turf (synthetic football fields), that will now be regulated. 

The rubber granulates are made of finely chopped car tires. This has become a massive environmental problem. 

Within the end of this year, The Norwegian government has announced, that artificial turf on football pitches will need to have a plan for how to make the micro beads not fall outside of the turf. There will be stricter rules on storage, usage and how to collect the micro beads. 

To give you some numbers; 

- There are ca 1600 artificial turf football fields in Norway

- Micro beads coming from these artificial turfs is one of the highest plastic polluters in Norway

- Globally, over 8 million tonns of plastic ends up in the ocean, this equals five lorry truck worth of plastic per minute being dumped in the ocean. 

In other words; this is great news! Marine littering is however a global problem, and plastic that ends up in the ocean knows no limits to where it might end up. But seeing Norway stepping up and making changes like this makes a real difference, because we are such a high consuming nation. I hope more countries will make similar priorities in the near future, so we can have more environmental wins, and protect more of what we love. 

Marine littering

It is almost funny how I have not written about this topic sooner, as it is something that is very close to my heart, and that I have been concerned about for years. 

Marine litter is a global problem, so even though (for my Norwegian readers) we live in a country with fairly good recycling methods for plastic, it is something we need to be very considerate about.

To start with the facts; 

- Each year 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced

- Of these 300 million tonnes - 8 million ends up in the ocean

- That equals 5 lorry-trucks dumping plastic in the sea, every minute all year around

- If this continues, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, according to World Economic Forum

- We also know that 80% of all the plastic that ends up in the ocean originates from land-based sources

So, what can we do about it? :) 

Luckily, there are several things we can do to help aid the problem, and specially if you live in a high consumption society, like Norway, your contribution will really make a difference. 

First; this is how long plastic products keep on lasting in the sea:

To combat this, here is a handy trick you can remember - Refuse, Reuse, Reduce. 

Refuse - plastic that will only be used once, like a plastic straw

Reuse - plastic bottles and fill them with tap water, in stead of buying a new one every time

Reduce - the amount of plastic you consume. 

There is an even longer list of 10 good steps you can take if you follow this link. 

I will write a new post soon on what happens when the plastic is broken down to micro plastic/micro beads, and also how we can prevent that from spreading as well :)