Keep Norway Beautiful - Conference
This year's Keep Norway Beautiful conference had a Nordic profile with Norwegian, Nordic and International speakers. There was broad consensus that regional cooperation and measures are crucial for meeting an ever-increasing global challenge with littering of the oceans. New surveys show that fishing gear or components from these make up a high proportion.
In Norway there are many local enthusiasts who voluntarily cleanse beaches for litter and in recent years interest for this has increased significantly. This interest has also awakened business players who are increasingly contributing. However, Sweden has a significantly greater effort for voluntary tidying of beaches. Also in this area, it is now well underway with the Nordic coastal initiative, through a joint beach cleaning day, which will take place on May 5th. Such initiatives have the primary purpose of preventing littering through increased knowledge and increase ordinary people’s environmental awareness for the sea.
This year's conference was opened by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Håkon, followed by, among others, Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen. Gjermund Langedal from the Clean Nordic Ocean also contributed with a speech about how CNO could contribute in the need for increasing regional Nordic cooperation.
Karin Gaardsted, who represents the Social Democrats in the Danish Parliament and has a role in the Nordic Council, highlighted the challenges that have arisen when China has closed its borders for imports of plastic for further processing from the New Year and explained the importance of a joint Nordic initiative to deal with plastic waste. She talked for a joint Nordic initiative to deal with this type of waste, rather than sending plastic waste around the world.
The essence of seance was that Nordic and international cooperation is required to meet the ever increasing problem. The fishing industry accounts for a significant part of the waste that is washed onshore along the costal zones, although not all is dumped. The ocean currents make the challenge of spreading waste bigger and also an almost "boundless" challenge. In spite of this, local, national and regional measures will contribute to global improvements. One of several arenas in this respect will be Clean Nordic Oceans.