Cleaning up the sea is not the only answer to Marine Litter: green entrepreneurship also comes with solutions
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Marine litter is a global issue and poses a serious threat to biodiversity as millions of tons of this litter end up in the sea. Cleaning up the sea is an essential response to Marine Litter; however it’s not the only one. The problem must also be tackled at its source: the way we consume and produce goods.
At SCP/RAC, we work closely with entrepreneurs, consumers and policy makers to prevent marine litter by finding alternatives and innovative solutions, boosting eco-businesses and supporting eco-innovation and eco design.
“Turning the Mediterranean region into a cradle of green initiatives is fundamental to tackling the Marine Litter issue”
Solutions and creative projects come up every day. It is our role to ensure that they can be realised and supported. SCP/RAC and the SwitchMed Programme empower entrepreneurs to scale up their green business and provide them with knowledge, training, advice, networking and financial opportunities. Many of these entrepreneurs generate value from plastic waste, turning it into fashion accessories or other consumer goods, and providing a new life to single-use plastics. When upcycled, plastic can be reintegrated in the economy instead of ending up in our seas.
Nour Kays in her workshop
Meet Nour Kays, a Lebanese designer on a mission. A mission to change the way we perceive and use “waste” materials. She collects and repurposes used plastic carrier bags into a new material that she uses to create a collection of fashionable, eco-friendly and handmade bags. She is supported by SwitchMed programme and benefits from a one-to-one coaching and training, called “incubation phase”. In one year, she turned 2400 plastic bags into fashionable and eco-friendly accessories. In 5 years, she will have prevented 12 000 plastic bags from ending up in nature or in the sea.
Among the Green entrepreneurs being incubated by the SwitchMed Programme, another example of green business is working on the sustainable waste management sector. The Moroccan Oussama Boutrigui developed an initiative to collect waste generated by the agricultural sector (plastic, films, and pipes) and to reintegrate it in the economy in another form. “Agricultural activities do not only produce organic waste. Several thousand tonnes of plastic waste are also among the waste products from agriculture. And with the expansion of the agricultal sector in the last 20 years, the new techniques and ongoing installation of green houses, the production of plastic waste is at its peak.” He estimates that his project will recycle 2300 tons of plastic waste a year and create 30 direct and indirect jobs in its region. In 5 years, he will have recycled 11 500 tons of plastic waste.
What else does SCP/RAC do to tackle Marine Litter?
SCP/RAC is the leader of the project ACT4LITTER, an Interreg Med project. It aims to tackle the problem of marine litter in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPA) by supporting achievement of conservation objectives using an ecosystem-based approach. The project will facilitate the development of 10 MPA-specific action plans for preventing and mitigating marine litter through a participatory process.
Partners on the project include the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies (Italy), MedPAN (France), and MIO ESCE (Greece).
To know more about it: https://interreg-med.eu/
SCP/RAC is involved in the SWIM-H2020SM Project (Sustainable Water Integrated Management and Horizon 2020 Support Mechanism 2016-2019), funded by the European Union. It aims to reduce marine pollution and contribute to sustainable use of scarce water resources in the Mediterranean Region with emphasis on the countries of North Africa and the Middle East. SCP/RAC will be involved in the expert facility, peer-to-peer experience sharing and dialogue and Capitalizing the lessons learnt, good practices and success stories. SCP/RAC will also prepares activities related to Green Economy, Circular Economy, SCP, pollution prevention and control, sustainable finance.
To know more about it: http://www.swim-h2020.eu/
Marine litter Med
The overall objective of this project is to support UN Environment/MAP/Barcelona Convention and its Contracting Parties to prevent and manage Marine Litter through the implementation of the Marine Litter Regional Plan. SCP/RAC leads the activity aiming to promote at national level the banning of the single use of plastic bags and the reduction of plastics production and use in packaging and other main uses.