Boskalis Beach Cleanup Tour raises awareness about the growing problem of plastic waste in our oceans
In 2013, Boskalis became the main sponsor of the Beach Cleanup Tour organized by NGO The North Sea Foundation. The initiative aims to get Dutch people more involved and to raise their awareness of plastic waste in the ocean.
In recent decades, vast quantities of plastic have ended up in our oceans. It is estimated that 80–90% of the waste comes from the land and 10–20% from ships. Ocean currents cause the plastic to accumulate in ‘gyres’, where a ‘soup’ of plastic particles is formed. In addition to the gyre or ‘plastic garbage patch’ in the Indian Ocean there are four garbage patches in the Pacific and three in the Atlantic, together covering an area estimated to be more than double the size of the United States.
In 2010 representatives of Boskalis and waste processing company Van Gansewinkel Group fished samples of the plastic waste out of the waters of the Indian Ocean, between Australia and Mauritius, and analyzed them. The findings were reported and discussed with parties including the Algalita Marine Reseach and Education Institute, the American ‘discoverers’ of plastic soup. Preventing more non-degradable waste ending up in our seas and oceans through education programs can make a significant contribution to the solution.
Awareness and commitment
In the hundreds of products we use every day micro plastics or micro beads are used. Studies show that these tiny pieces of plastic are part of the plastic soup and end up in the food chain. Already for more than thirty years, NGO The North Sea Foundation has been talking to businesses, and the shipping and fisheries sector, to cut back the amount of waste entering the North Sea. Together with the NGO Plastic Soup Foundation they advocate a worldwide ban of micro beads. Their motto is ‘Tackle it at the Source’.
In 2013, Boskalis became the main sponsor of the Beach Cleanup Tour organized by The North Sea Foundation. The initiative aims to get Dutch people more involved and to raise their awareness of plastic waste in the ocean. It makes sense for Boskalis to support a Dutch initiative so closely associated with our area of operations; we have traditionally been involved in maintaining this coastline. In August, 350 km of beach was cleaned up by 560 volunteers and Boskalis employees and a detailed record made of the pollution in certain areas. Extrapolating this information to the whole coastal zone resulted in a clear picture of the pollution challenge facing The Netherlands on its coastline. The North Sea Foundation presented the results of the cleanup to a member of the Dutch Parliament and a member of the European Parliament. Raising awareness of the pollution issue among politicians makes it more likely that international regulations will be developed or that measures will be taken to combat ocean pollution.
After a highly successful first edition, Boskalis decided to commit itself to this initiative for the coming years. The 2014 edition will also take place during the month of August.
Merijn Hougee, NGO The North Sea Foundation: “We are very happy with the support from Boskalis. Together we can clean up the entire Dutch North Sea coast with the help of many enthusiastic volunteers, who are willing to spend a day on the beach with us, cleaning and of course enjoying the beach and North Sea.”
Do you want to know more? Check out www.mybeach.info.