The Delegation of the European Union to Sierra Leone, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Affairs, the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone, the Freetown City Council, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Propel Organisation and Shout Climate Change Africa, organized the sixth (6th) edition of the #EUBeachcleanup2023 event held along Lumley and Aberdeen beach in Freetown, on Saturday October 7, 2023.
The annual beach clean-up campaign is organised around the World Coastal Clean-up day and is aimed at raising awareness about the impact of plastic pollution and marine litter on the ocean and marine life, in order to help protect biodiversity protection and conservation.
Addressing volunteers, Head of the EU Delegation to Sierra Leone, Ambassador Manuel Müller, underlined the importance of keeping the oceans free from plastics and protecting Sierra Leone’s environment. “The oceans provide the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. Let’s keep our beaches and oceans clean. Let’s reduce plastic pollution of our oceans. Let’s protect marine life and biodiversity, not only for ourselves, but also for our children and future generations,” he said. Ambassador Muller recalled that each year about eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean, which is the same as dropping every minute, over an entire year, a full truck of plastic garbage into the ocean. “60% to 80% of marine litter globally is plastics. Plastic litter, which often fish mistake for food, is poisoning and degrading marine environment. Ocean pollution has an extreme impact on the environment and marine life, and on our own health and life,” he noted.
The European Union and EU Member States are actively supporting Sierra Leone in the protection of the environment. One of the priority areas of the Development Partnership between the European Union and Sierra Leone under the Multiannual Indicative Programme for the period 2021-2027 is the Green Economy, including EU support to the sustainable management and protection of Sierra Leone’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
Hon. Minister for Tourism and Culture, Madam Nabeela Tunis, welcomed the actions of the European Union aimed at strengthening environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. She emphasized that plastic pollution threatens ecosystems, wildlife, human health and food chains, and urged citizens to change behaviours and embrace recycling and innovation. She also called for collective action to combat ocean pollution.
All the tools used during this beach clean-up were handed over to the National Tourist Board and Propel Organisation to support their beach cleaning exercises.