The National Centre for Marine Litter
Beach cleanup is one of the best responses we have against marine litter today. Volunteers do an impressive job, more and more in recent years. Cooperation and enthusiasm have united several hundred thousand people in efforts that have contributed to making our coastline cleaner. The diversity of players and projects, and the growing level of activity are all positive, but the authorities also play an important role when it comes to coordination, prioritisation and guidance. Today, county governors function as regional coordinators, the Norwegian Environment Agency does solid work, the outdoor recreation councils assist in the efforts and waste management companies are also involved. Norway plays a role in international efforts to address the global problem of marine litter. The Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment will work to achieve a high level of awareness and knowledge about marine litter, and will contribute to the work to achieve clean seas. We have already made good progress in acquiring knowledge, developing tools and creating broad-based cooperation. Over the course of 2019, we will work out in the field to gather knowledge and experience, we will develop a new map solution for beach cleanup together with organisations such as Keep Norway Beautiful, we will continue our dialogue with a broad range of players, the centre will test technology and operative resources, and we will also do what many volunteers are doing all along the coastline; we will clean up with our own hands.
The government plays an important role in promoting involvement by the volunteers and ensuring that measures are in place, so they can continue their good work. But we cannot expect them to do the job for us. The government must lead the way, help to make all efforts more effective, and take a greater responsibility for beach cleanup. This is where the Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment will target its commitment. Norway’s coastline is 100,915 km long, with deep fjords and 239,057 islands. Along this coastline there are areas that are virtually inaccessible, hot spots and preserved areas where the natural assets are precious and vulnerable to human impact. The county governors have a wealth of expertise regarding the environment, and are the regional coordinators. We will assist them in the work they have now embarked upon. This year, the Norwegian Coastal Administration will test its operative resources in a joint project with us on marine litter. We live and work in a society where the public administration, volunteers and businesses join forces in projects to fight marine litter throughout the country. We will contribute to create a broader arena for joint action, where we can work together and share knowledge, experience and tools.
The Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment has a goal – a national cleanup community where volunteers, organisations, businesses, public administration and research institutions all have their specific roles, and are secure in their core tasks. Each part of this cleanup community will have an open door for cooperation. We need this clean-up community if we are to win the fight against marine litter. The Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment will coordinate this commitment to ensure that the coast and the ocean do not face the threat of waste gone astray. There will not be equal amounts of plastic and fish in the ocean in 2050, because we will combat marine litter and take care of the ocean that we live by, the beaches that we love, and the natural environment we are a part of.