The Earth Day 2018 campaign is 'a world without plastic pollution', and is focused on “fundamentally changing human attitudes and behaviors about plastic and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution”. Decorated with white and red one-off plastic bags, the pristine beauty of Montenegro's nature especially needs such international support.
Littered beaches are a long-known issue in Montenegro, addressed mostly by non-governmental organizations and social institutes. Every year, various NGOs and local schools undertake an initiative to clean part of the coastline. Here are just some of the actions held last year, for example:
- April 2017, 53 pupils from Tivat schools cleaned Belane beach
- April 2017, NGO Zrak Sunca, with the support of Herceg Novi schools, cleaned the beach for people with disabilities located in front of the Igalo Health Institute
- June 2017, NGO Green Home, together with the OCTO diving center, cleaned the beaches of Sutomore
- August 2017, NGO Boka cleaned beaches between Perast and Risan, and Verige beach
On the third Saturday in September, Montenegrin volunteers and ecologists join their colleagues all over the world in celebrating the International Day of Beach Cleaning. With this global gesture, on the beaches in Kotor, Bar, Sutomore, Ulcinj, and Tivat, social activists of different organizations joined the global movement #breakfreefromplastic to create awareness of the harmful impact of plastic waste on our environment. The action was supported by the following local NGOs: Zero Waste Montenegro, Naša akcija, ADP-Zid, Open Mind, Green Home, Mogul, Dr Martin Schneider Jacoby, as well as the OCTO diving center in Sutomore. Altogether, 136 volunteers picked up more than 60 cubic meters of garbage on the beach and in the sea. As they say, most waste collected was from plastic bottles, beer cans, cigarette butts and plastic bags.
Zero Waste Montenegro
As one of the strategic points is to mobilize citizens across the globe to demand action from governments regarding the control of plastic pollution, one of Montenegro's NGOs, Zero Waste, has started a campaign for a single-use plastic bag ban. As reported, each citizen of Montenegro uses on average 400 single-use plastic bags per year and none are recycled in Montenegro - best case scenario, if they do not end up in nature, they are piled up in landfills. Last summer, Zero Waste Montenegro started a national petition to ban single-use plastic bags once and for all, which your humble servant immediately signed. A few months later, the petition was positively received by the Waste Management of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, and this year, the Ministry expects the NGO to provide support by drafting the revision of the legislation aiming to ban plastic bags.
As Zero Waste Montenegro informs on their webpage: “We expect to get the EU Commission via its TAEIX instrument on board, which can provide relevant legal expertise to the Montenegrin Government, in order to finalize the legislation. We have been preparing by researching, collecting and translating laws from different countries which have successfully passed such legislation recently (France, Kenya). As we don’t have any in-house legal expertise in our team of volunteers, we have found a local legal advisor to assist us in the drafting process. Once finalized, we will submit the draft legislation to the Ministry”. TMN looks forward to hearing good news so we can tell the world about it!
Celebrating Earth Day this year, which is dedicated to providing information and inspiration needed to change local attitudes and behaviors about plastic, volunteers will gather for beach cleaning actions on 21 April in Tivat, followed by Kotor the next day.
Contribute to ending plastic pollution in Montenegro by joining the NGO Nasa Akcija next weekend: http://www.nasaakcija.me/en/earth-day-2018-risan-coast-clean-up/