Make Holidays Greener

Ocean trash is not a new problem

Guest post by Sarah Kollar, Coordinator, Trash Free Seas Program15_6_Degrees

Ocean Conservancy

We face many complex challenges when it comes to a clean and healthy ocean, but one problem is simple to understand: trash. Ocean trash –or marine debris, litter, rubbish, and all the other names we have for it –includes any manufactured item that makes it way to the marine environment, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

The topic has recently jumped to the forefront of many ocean discussions as more and more people are discovering the sheer enormity and numerous impacts of trash in marine environments. But for Ocean Conservancy and the millions of International Coastal Cleanup volunteers around the world, we’ve been tackling ocean trash for nearly three decades.

A Regular Cleanup

Every year, as part of the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean, hundreds of thousands of volunteers join forces to for one day to collect and remove debris from their local waterways and coastlines.

DSC_4909Beyond removing debris, participants also log the types and amount of trash that plague their specific area and report these data back to Ocean Conservancy. Consequently, from the great work of volunteers across the globe, we have amassed a global database on marine debris which creates better understanding and informs effective solutions.

By collecting, counting and tallying debris, it becomes apparent that ocean trash –no matter where it comes from –is not an ocean problem, but rather a people problem.

The most common items collected during cleanups are those that we use every day. Single-use disposable items, often plastics, are collected by the thousands. And over the years, volunteers have also found many peculiar items, including eight bowling balls, a plastic dinosaur toy, and a fireplace from the 2014 Cleanup.

The Cleanup also shows that we still have work to do. Marine organisms can become trapped or entangled in items like fishing line, which seriously impairs mobility and often leads to death. Furthermore, ingestion of debris has been documents in over 600 marine species including all seven species of sea turtles.

Health Hazards

The impacts do not stop in the water. We too, are greatly affected by ocean trash. Coastal communities and their economies are hindered by trash littering their beaches. Trash in the ocean is both an environmental danger and threat to our own health.

Just as the impacts of debris our numerous and far reaching, so too must be our solutions. It is the collective effort and collaboration of organizations around the world that will help us realize trash free seas. Ocean Conservancy is thrilled to work with the Travel Foundation and the Make Holidays Greener campaign to remind us all to do our part, even as we relax on holiday.

To join in the solution and learn more about our various initiatives to prevent ocean trash at the source, check out www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris. To get involved with the International Coastal Cleanup, check out www.signuptocleanup.org. Follow us on Twitter @OurOcean and find us on Facebook. Thank YOU for all that you do for a cleaner, healthier ocean for all!Print

Make Holidays Greener month starts today! If you have not already signed up to run a beach clean then please get involved!

20140703 Make Holidays Greener

Greener beaches, cleaner oceans

The Travel Foundation has teamed up with Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations to launch this year’s Make Holidays Greener campaign, raising awareness of the need for cleaner, greener beaches.

Last year over 100 companies took part, in 22 countries, gathering up over 600 bags of rubbish (and therefore preventing it from entering the oceans and harming wildlife)!

“We’re delighted to have Travelife as a partner for the Make Holidays Greener campaign,” said Salli Felton, Chief Executive of the Travel Foundation. “The campaign looks set to be even bigger and better than last year.”

The global community is waking up to the issue of litter entering the oceans. If current trends continue then by 2025 there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the ocean.

Plastic never biodegrades, it just breaks into smaller pieces. In this form it is at its most dangerous, as small fish gobble up the microparticles and it works its way up the food chain.

The Big Holiday Beach Clean-up is an opportunity for the travel industry to do something positive about this issue and help keep it on the agenda. Getting involved in the campaign is a great way to show your customers and staff that you care, and to highlight your green credentials.

Companies can support the campaign by organising a beach clean during or before July and by sharing their stories on Facebook and Twitter, using #greenerhols.

Please visit www.makeholidaysgreener.org.uk for a range of free resources, including how to organise a beach cleanup and top tips for customers.

microplastic

The Big Beach Cleanup made holidays greener this July

Beach cleanup photo collage

How did it go?

Thousands of kilograms of rubbish were picked up from 97 beaches in 22 countries!

In total, 105 companies took part in the event. A huge thank you to all the staff, customers, residents and friends who made the Big Holiday Beach Cleanup such a success.

Thanks also for keeping us informed of your beach cleans and sending through your photos – a selection of which have been used in the above graphic, and appear in our Facebook album and on Flickr. You can also download this graphic as an A4 poster to display.

So what next?

If you haven’t already done so, please send your beach surveys to Ocean Conservancy who will use the data to keep track of the problem globally. They will also report back with observations about the litter collected and what this means.

If you’ve caught the beach clean bug, please join the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup on 20 September (or the MCS Great British Beach Clean from 19-22 September if you are UK based).

Consider getting your beach fully-green: get inspiration and advice from our Greening Cyprus Beaches film and manual and/or use our Turtle Protection tool. Be sure to keep us informed of your progress!

Thanks again for making this year’s Make Holidays Greener campaign the best yet. And thanks too to Visit Greece for sponsoring the campaign this year!

Would you eat that?

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!medasset poster

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.

At the Vienna Natural History Museum

At the Vienna Natural History Museum

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
jennyioannou@medasset.org
www.medasset.org

Brighton’s Beach Brigade gets Busy

Last week we kicked off Make Holidays Greener month with a beach clean in Brighton (strictly speaking, Hove). Over 30 people from the travel trade* came out to do their bit, and we were guided by Ed from the Marine Conservation Society – a charity that runs hundreds of beach cleans with volunteers in the UK every year.

20140703 Make Holidays Greener

It’s high season, and Brighton and Hove’s beaches are being regularly cleaned by the local council. Our section of beach looked pretty much spotless, and yet…

In under an hour, the group collected 1025 pieces of rubbish!

About two thirds of this was plastic. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, and so if someone doesn’t actually come along and pick it up, it will be there for many decades before it finally breaks down. And of course as well as looking ugly, plastic litter can cause all sorts of problems for marine wildlife and sea birds that either get caught in it, or mistake it for food and swallow it. Among our haul we picked up cigarette lighters, bottle tops, tennis balls, bits of disposable barbecues, ice lolly sticks, cigarette stubs, cotton bud sticks (flush them down the toilet and they end up on the beach), bits of fishing net and drinks cans. What’s great about the Big Holiday Beach Clean is that it’s not just about cleaning up after ourselves – tourism is only one of many sources of beach litter. Rather, tourism is perfectly placed to be part of the solution: staff and customers are based around beautiful beaches across the globe, and they really appreciate their value both to tourism and to wildlife. And once you’ve been on a beach clean you realise it’s not just worthwhile, it’s fun (especially when the sun is shining)!

We’re hoping to see over 100 beach cleans across the globe this month. Thanks to those of you who have already done yours, and sent us your pictures and stories. If you want to get involved there’s still time to sign up. And if you missed our Brighton event but want to take part in a UK clean up, please visit mcsuk.org/beachwatch

*Thanks to: Flexitreks, Pure Crete, TUI Travel, AITO, Sunvil, Mountain Kingdoms, Neilson, Thomson Airways, TTG, Ski Safari, ABTA and The Eventa Group.

Thomas Cook celebrates Make Holidays Greener Month with beach cleans and holiday swap shops

Calvia Council Official MHG photo - crop

July is Make Holidays Greener Month and this year’s theme is the Big Holiday Beach Clean. Travel companies around the world are running beach clean-ups and other sustainable tourism activities. Jo Hendrickx, Sustainable Destinations Manager for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, explains how they’re getting involved…

Thomas Cook has supported the Make Holidays Greener campaign since it was first launched in 2010, and it has now become an integral part of our annual sustainability calendar. Our overseas teams particularly look forward to the month of July and use the campaign as a time to increase their sustainability activity and, in particular, to engage with holidaymakers, suppliers and local organisations.

Make Holidays Greener activities have proven a great tool in bringing people together in support of environmental and social activities that can make a really big difference to holiday destinations, and the people that live in and visit them.

Over the years, hundreds of reps, customers and suppliers have taken part in beach, underwater and forest cleans – removing waste and debris that includes bottles, cans, plastics, tyres and even toilet seats!

Our biggest achievement so far was working together with Calvia Council in Mallorca and other tour operators to undertake a joint underwater clean up in Palma Nova bay. Reps donned their scuba gear and headed underwater with specially designed floatable collection bags that enabled them to clear the seabed and float the debris up to other teams waiting at the surface. It was collected on the beach by Calvia Council and all 800kg of waste was taken for recycling.

This year, we were delighted to find that the overall campaign is based on cleaner beaches and are expecting even more activity than ever from our overseas teams as this really is our forte. We will be doing more underwater cleans along the coast in Tanzania, Sunwing and Sunprime Hotels have already carried out a number of beach cleans as have our teams in Cyprus.

In the Costa Blanca we will take a different approach as many hotels are not close to the beach, but we know there are still plenty of things we can do to make a difference, so our teams will be asking holidaymakers to recycle their almost empty sun creams, other toiletries and even lilos – by holding swap shops in hotels and then ensuring the final empty products are collected for recycling.

We are also really proud to see our Travelife GOLD awarded SENTIDO Golden Star Hotel in Bulgaria pledging their support through the Travel Foundation Beach Clean Map and are looking forward to hearing how their event goes on 12 July. It’s great to see that so many of the hotels involved here are Travelife awarded, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and involving staff and customers in their efforts.

We will be recording the efforts of all our teams and look forward to providing an update at the end of the month.

Travelife supports Make Holidays Greener 2014

Beach clean at SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Egypt

Beach clean at SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Egypt

Emma Lewis, Senior Relationships Executive at Travelife, explains why Travelife is supporting Make Holidays Greener 2014.

Travelife – the international sustainability certification scheme for hotels and accommodations – has promoted the Make Holidays Greener Big Holiday Beach Clean to all its 1,300 members worldwide, encouraging them to get involved. The majority of beach cleans on the campaign’s world map are Travelife hotel members. These include:

  • SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Hurghada, Egypt
  • Spring Arona Gran Hotel, Tenerife, Spain
  • Coral Sea Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
  • Corfu Imperial Grecotel, Corfu, Greece
  • SENTIDO Golden Star, Golden Sands Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria
  • Three Corners Ocean View, Hurghada, Egypt
  • Playitas Hotel, Fuerteventura, Spain

Travelife – which helps hotels and accommodations around the world reduce their environmental impact and support local people, local culture and the local economy – is a natural partner of the Make Holidays Greener campaign.

“The beach cleans are a great way to get staff, guests and local people involved in positive action in the holiday destination,” says Nikki White, Head of Destinations and Sustainability, Travelife. “Like the combined impact of Travelife hotels around the world, the beach cleans show that by people working together lots of simple, practical actions all add up to make a big difference.”

The SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort in Egypt has experience of successfully organising beach clean-ups with staff and guests. Its last beach clean-up involved 32 customers and 23 staff, who together collected 19 kilos of waste which was then sent for recycling. Their story was then featured as a case study in the Travelife newsletter and website to help inspire other Travelife members.

To find out more about Travelife certified hotels around the world visit the Travelife Collection website: www.travelifecollection.com

Serra Negra beach clean in Cape Verde for World Oceans Day

Serra Negra beach clean, Sal, Cape Verde

To celebrate World Oceans Day and Make Holidays Greener Month, the Travel Foundation worked with the Sal-based NGO SOS Tartarugas to organise a beach clean in Serra Negra, Cape Verde.

25 participants collected approximately 700kg of rubbish over 3.5 hours, including fishing nets, plastic boxes, wood and glass – enough to fill three pick-up trucks.

Members of the Sal Destination Council kindly supported the beach clean:

  • APP (water and electricity company) donated 100 rubbish bags
  • Hotel Oasis Salinas Sea donated 25 litres of drinking water and rubbish bags
  • RIU Hotel donated 30 bottles of juice, rubbish bags and cups
  • Guiantur, the Association of Tourist Guides, gave use of their pick-up truck
  • City Hall of Sal donated rubbish bags

The event was also supported by the Protected Areas Project, which provided a pick-up truck and driver, and School Kim Barbosa, which provided catering equipment. A traditional Cape Verdean hearty stew called cachupa was made by a lady called Felipa for the beach clean team.

Serra Negra beach clean, Sal, Cape Verde - Cachupa time

The Travel Foundation’s National Programme Manager for Cape Verde, Débora Abu-Raya said, “Despite the amount of rubbish we collected from Serra Negra, we still have a long way to go before the beach is clear of plastic. As our Better Beaches project progresses, we’re hoping to encourage more local residents and visitors to come to beach cleans and take better care of the beach environment. I’m sure we will get there!”

By Isabel Kearney, Destinations Programme Officer

Beach clean in Cape Verde

Sal beach clean

To celebrate World Turtle Day, Isabel Kearney, Travel Foundation’s Destinations Programme Officer for Cape Verde took part in a beach clean on 25th May in Sal. The beach clean, which was organised by SOS Turtles, saw local residents and the SOS Turtles team come together on Kite Beach to collect litter. Isabel said:

“Despite being the most popular of Sal’s beaches for kite surfers, I was surprised by how much rubbish we collected – we filled twelve large bags in an hour with plastic jerry cans, bits of fishing nets and broken glass bottles.”

Isabel is in Sal for two weeks working with National Programme Manager Débora Abu-Raya visiting the Travel Foundation’s projects and attending the Destination Council.

For more information on the Travel Foundation’s work in Cape Verde, please visit our project pages and if you are in the travel industry, sign up for a beach clean as part of this July’s Make Holidays Cleaner campaign.