Volunteers have cleared over 6000 kilos of rubbish from the Dutch beaches, including almost 30,000 cigarette butts, in a two week effort to rid the coastline of garbage.
In total, 1,827 people took part in the volunteer effort, led by the Stichting De Noordzee foundation.
The bad weather had an effect on the number of tourists visiting beaches so far this summer, but the volunteers still picked up some 27,854 cigarette butts, of which 6,366 were found on Zandvoort beach alone. Zandvoort also topped the list for rubbish, with 929 kilos of discarded junk.
“What we managed to collect is only a fraction of the real total,” foundation director Wytske Postma said.
“Too many people are still using the beach as an ashtray. The plastics and chemicals in cigarette butts are incredibly damaging to the environment. It only takes one butt to pollute a thousand litres of water.”
The association wants more coastal towns and cities to ban smoking on the beach. “Reness and Noordwijk beaches are already smoke-free and this summer Goeree-Overflakkee and The Hage are following suit. We hope other local councils will do the same,” she said.
In total, the volunteers collected 6,081 kilos of rubbish, among which some disheartening finds, such as a plastic Luycks mayonnaise bag. The company closed its doors in 1985 which makes it over 38 years old. The volunteers also found plastic objects from the containers lost by cargoship MSC Zoe five years ago.
“We often find old plastic waste which has made a long journey. It goes to show we need measures to solve the problem at source to prevent more rubbish to end up in the sea, ” Postma said.
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