Dutch beaches increasingly clean
The non-tourist Dutch beaches on the North Sea are getting cleaner, according to research by the North Sea Foundation. Between 2001 and 2010, an average of 388 pieces of waste were found on 100 meters of beach. Between 2011 and 2020, that dropped to 282 pieces of waste, NOS reports.
"The downward trend is good news and it gives hope," Ewout van Galen of the foundation said to the broadcaster. "Let's do everything we can to continue this trend and put an end to waste in the North Sea."
The amount of balloons and fishing waste particularly decreased over the past decade. "Balloons disappeared from the top five most commonly found beach litter. Although waste from fishing is still number one, it is found less." After fishing waste, the top five most commonly found waste includes pieces of indefinable plastic between 2.5 cm and 50 cm big, pieces of indefinable plastic up to 2.5 cm in size, plastic bottle caps, and snack packaging.
The North Sea Foundation sees three main causes behind the cleaner beaches. Firstly, there is more attention for litter, especially for plastic in the sea, which results in more cleanup projects.
Second is policy changes on a local, national or international level, such as locally banning the release of balloons, the national ban on free plastic bags, and international legislation against dumping waste at sea. The government's decision to put a deposit on cans will also help, Van Galen said.
And finally, the foundation noticed that citizens, businesses and social organizations are increasingly committed to clean beaches. "For example by cleaning up the beach and improving the facilities for waste delivery in ports."