Imagine you are a hungry sea turtle that cannot tell the difference between a real jellyfish — a nutritious treat — and a floating plastic bag that very much resembles a jellyfish. Fooled by the illusion, you swallow the plastic bag — a deadly mistake. The plastic makes you feel so full that you unwittingly starve yourself to death!
The plastic in our seas is killing hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and other marine animals each year, as they often mistake it for food. To raise awareness about this startling statistic, MEDASSET, an organisation that has been promoting safe and responsible waste disposal throughout the Mediterranean since 1998, created the “You See the Difference. A Turtle Does Not” campaign in 2012.
Millions of tourists visit the Mediterranean each summer, causing real problems for coastal communities, which are asked to manage waste well beyond their capacities. In response, MEDASSET, with support from various sponsors, placed giant posters at the Athens and Berlin Airports, hoping to directly target travelers about this enormous environmental issue.
Over the last two years, the response to the poster has been phenomenal. It has been placed in permanent exhibitions at prestigious museums and aquariums and gone viral on Facebook.
The best part of the campaign, however, is that it is truly international: it has been translated into twelve languages and adopted by like-minded organisations everywhere from Alaska, to island nations in the Indian ocean, to Costa Rica, to Australia, and all over the Mediterranean, MEDASSET’s field of activity.
It’s a tool that works, and we are glad we can share it and raise awareness about this global issue.
Jenny Ioannou, Head of Communications, MEDASSET