It’s difficult to avoid producing waste altogether, but if we don’t manage it responsibly, then we’re creating a catastrophic impact to the environment around us. An example would be the Versova Beach in India, once victim to countless waste being dumped on it. However, a clean-up project operated over 85 weeks restored the beach to its natural glory.
Across the world, there have been many large-scale operations running. Budget skip hire company, Skip Hire UK explore several similar large-scale clean-up projects operating around the planet.
The Ocean Project – Seychelles’ outer islands
The Ocean Project is currently taking place in Seychelles. It was founded to deal with the problems impacting the marine environment as a result of pollution and climate change. The project team had revealed 8,300 million tonnes of plastic has been produced since the beginning of mass plastic production in the 1950s. 70% of this has ended up as waste, and 84% of that waste has ended up out among nature — via landfills, the ocean, or dumping.
The Ocean Project Seychelles has cumulatively created a huge clean-up of the area, thanks to number of different micro-projects located on the islands. The project runs installations of art made from the plastic debris collected in the islands, the Last Straw Campaign, and educational coastal clean-ups.
It was in March 2019 that the project took its biggest undertaking, which was the first ever large-scale clean-up of Seychelles’ outer islands to occur. 40 participants headed to one of 13 Seychelles outer islands to assess the problem, investigate its origin, and see how much of it was there. The participants collected 10,627 kg of litter during the project.
The results from this project had indicated a need to continue to reduce plastic waste around the world and address the human element of plastic pollution.
Mount Everest cleaning campaign
It usually assumed that, being the highest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest would be the last place to have a litter problem. Not so — in fact, the mountain suffers some of the worst waste problems in the world, from discarded oxygen tanks and beer bottles to embarrassing volumes of human faeces. Over the last 60 years, the number of climbers visiting and attempting to scale the mountain has increased exponentially — in 2017, there were 648 summits of Everest, but a whopping 35,000 tourists.
Unfortunately, all of the above combined with the volume of waste produced, has resulted in a severe waste management problem, which could eventually lead to a risk of human health. The buried waste contaminates the snow, which melts into the water supply and can make people sick.
Many efforts have been attempted to clean up the mountain. A mandate was issued in 2014 requiring climbers to bring 18lb of trash back off the mountain when they returned, and a base camp ceased operating on China’s side of the mountain. Those with climbing permits will be allowed up the mountain, but for visitors and tourists, only the areas below the base camp will be open. During the closure, authorities continued the success of its last three clean-up operations in spring 2018, where eight tonnes of waste was removed from the mountain. This year’s clean up saw 11 tonnes of waste brought down from Everest.
The Ocean Cleanup Pacific
The Ocean Cleanup was founded by 24-year old inventor Boyan Slat and was set up to clear huge portions of plastic and debris from the Pacific. If successful, the device was projected to rid the ocean of plastic, twice the size of Texas — or around six times larger than the UK.
The device suffered minor errors on its first run, because the plastic being scooped could not retained properly. This led to the debris floating away and out to sea again. The device was brought back, reworked and upgraded, and sent back out in June 2019. The new modifications hope to combat the problem of retaining the plastic through a more consistent speed control of the device.
There have been trials of new modifications taking place, which you can track the system’s development here, or visiting its Instagram.
Success of the project could see it becoming the first of its kind to be able to collect free floating plastic out at sea. The plastic retrieved by the device will be brought back to land, recycled and sold as products to fund future Ocean Cleanup projects.
Clean up Mumbai’s Versova beach
Waste of this scale currently needs to be address across the globe and it won’t be resolved overnight. It can take hours, days, months, and even years of effort to reverse the damage of ill-managed waste washed up or dropped into the environment.
Versova Beach located in Mumbai has become a magnet for the world’s waste. Back in 2015, two neighbours headed outside to the rubbish-infested Versova beach to start painstakingly picking up the litter. More and more people began to get involved, and eventually, a regular Sunday meet-up came into effect. It took 119 weeks, but with an estimated 12,000 tonnes of plastic removed, the sand is now finally visible.
But the clean up of the beach doesn’t really draw the problem to a conclusion. In fact, according to Tree Hugger, it won’t end until the flow of plastic and mishandled waste ends around the world. Otherwise, the rubbish will simply keep washing up on beaches for the foreseeable future. The movement founder, Afroz Shah, is still working on keeping his beloved beach clean, with an update as recent as 14th July 2019 chronicling week 195.
Thanks to our awareness being raised, the world is slowly but surely taking more responsibility with the waste it manages. But the efforts will need to continue in order to see a real change — much like the transformations enjoyed by the likes of Versova beach! With a combination of clean-ups and behaviour changes, we could very well see a cleaner world in our lifetimes.