2015 Ocean Initiatives kicking off: first pictures and videos!

The 2015 Ocean Initiatives are on ! Once again, from the 20th to the 22nd of March this year, thousands of volunteers attended the inaugural week-end of Surfrider Foundation Europe’s flagship litter collection campaign, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Many litter collections and animations were scheduled by Surfrider with its partners and volunteers throughout Europe. In the wake of this first week-end, many of you have been releasing photographs as well: what better way to thank you for your commitment than a snapshot of the first images from this new campaign?

ON THE SMURFIT AFFAIR : A FEW WORDS WITH JEAN-VINCENT, KEEPER OF THE COAST

On the 17th of last February, the Appeal court of Bordeaux (France) passed its sentence on the Smurfit affair. After being acquitted in First Instance in 2013, multinational stationery company Smurfit Kappa was eventually declared guilty of civil and criminal infractions for prejudice caused to the environment. In July 2012, one of the cisterns of Smurfit’s factory site in Biganos (Gironde, France) had broken open and widely poured its content, i.e. blackish substances containing (among others) caustic soda, into the surrounding rivers and the Arcachon Bay. These substances were then driven into the ocean via the Salie Wharf, a nearby sewage pipe which was already suspected of discharging noxious liquids around bathing and surfing waters on a regular basis. The incident caused an uproar among surfers and residents who gathered around local surfer and member of Association Michel d’Agata Jean-Vincent Accoce, who turned to Surfrider Foundation Europe and joined its Keepers of the Coast programme. Following our first interview back in 2012, we thought it interesting to ask him for his opinion now the affair is over (you may find a complete summary of it on the Keepers’ website).

2015 Ocean initiatives: 4 main types of litter under the spotlights

From March 19th to 22nd, Surfrider  Foundation Europe will be launching the 20th edition of its best-known mobilization and awareness raising programme : the Ocean Initiatives, a large-scale, free-to-join marine litter collection campaign. This new edition will once again link the collection of litter and the quantification of it with general sensibilization on the issue of marine litter. Indeed Surfrider will be providing organisers with pedagogical tools specifically designed to raise awareness using four emblematic types of litter. Various statistics based, among others, upon the litter collected over the 2014 Ocean Initiatives, have shown that these 4 types of waste are as commonly found on the coastline as in our daily lives. Thus cigarette butts, food packages, cotton swabs and plastic microbeads from cosmetics will be brought forward in the 2015 campaign to highlight this fundamental fact: just like them, the vast majority of the trash that pollutes our oceans comes from the continent.

International conference to take place in Monaco: mobilising against plastic in the Mediterranean Sea

On March 11th and 12th 2015, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Foundation Albert 2nd of Monaco, Tara Expeditions and Mava Foundation will be holding an international conference on marine litter in Monaco. Although the meeting’s primary focus will be on the Mediterranean Sea, the scope of debates will extend to more general concerns since the unparalleled mass pollution it is faced with makes it the epitome of most threats posed to saltwater worldwide. With speakers from all around the Mediterranean Basin, from Marocco to France and Lebanon, the conference seeks to bring together all stakeholders of the plastic cycle; hopefully this will allow solutions to marine litter issues to be brought about and any obstacles to the enactment and implementation of necessary measures to be overcome. The public is also welcome to take part in both the conference and the activities which will revolve around it.