Short summary: This story about the The International Coastal Cleanup Day organised by the EU Delegation in Baku on September 15, 2018 includes interviews with the Ambassador of the EU Ambassador Kestutis Yankauskas and of the UK, Dr Carole Crofts.
This story was developed as a part of an OPEN Media Hub production worlkshop for young journalists.
Author: Gulnare Azimzade
Media: Azxaber, Azerbaijan
Date of publication: 16.09.18
Link to original publication (in Azerbaijani)
For many years every September “The International Coastal Cleanup Day” has been celebrated by the European Union Delegation to Azerbaijan. This year EU Embassies, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, and about 200 volunteers joined EUD.
Beach pollution concerns each of us and is a problem we all contribute to and it’s only fair we all solve it together. That’s why we came together today to raise awareness about the effects of marine litter and call everyone to join us to protect our globe from pollution by not only cleaning up but [also] prevention of waste.’’ said Ambassador Kestutis Yankauskas.
According to the State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 7 million cubic meters of domestic waste was generated in Azerbaijan in 2017. On an average every Azerbaijani citizen wastes 90 kg of domestic waste. Part of this waste unloads into the streets, parks, and the Caspian Sea.On the beach, Carole Crofts, the ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Azerbaijan excelled in active participation. Ambassador Crofts gave a nice example to the volunteers by removing plastic bags on the shore of the sand.
I am both personally and professionally committed to reducing waste. Following Sir David Attenburgh’s “Blue Planet 2”, there has been a huge rise in awareness of the damage we are doing to our environment and to our oceans in particular and we are producing plastic at an enormous rate. In 2016, every second 20,000 plastic bottles were produced and they are only used once, mostly. And they take 450 years to biodegrade and almost all of the plastic we have ever produced in the World today is still in existence. We need to do something to reduce our plastic waste, to reuse plastic wherever we can and to recycle. The British Government has an initiative, the Foreign office has an initiative to reduce our own single use of plastics by the end of this year in London and overseas by the end of next year. And I’m working in my own embassy, and with likeminded people and with the Azerbaijani Government to help waste awareness and to think through a strategic approach to what is a Global problem. My message to you is, every single person has a role to play. We can each reduce the amount of plastic we use. For example, we can buy reusable water bottles, and refill them. And now in London, when you go to Heathrow airport you will find water filling points for you to then reuse and refill . So, I think it’s a great project. So important for future generations, and I hope every single one will be inspired to play their role. Thank you.’’
It should be noted that there was not a single trash bin in the area. While some of the beach areas were private property, the other part was public land. During the cleaning campaign, no auxiliary tools were used.