The Dutch Merijn Tinga is a windsurfer and activist who wants to fight plastic pollution.
The fight against plastic waste
The Plastic Soup in the ocean has become a very serious problem to the ecological wellbeing of the earth and its oceans. Plastic waste that ends up in nature, often ends up in the sea. Merijn wants to do his bit to stop this from happening.
When Merijn learned about the plastic soup in the ocean, he wanted to do something about it. He has done several campaigns to fight this waste and pollution.
On June third of this year, he left for an amazing mission: in 28 days he paddled down the Rhine (1200 kilometers!) on a surfboard made out of plastic found in this river. He confronted the companies responsible for the plastic he found along the way. He showed how much litter can be found in streams and showed how much of this litter ends up in the ocean.
From Holland to England
For larger plastic bottles, many countries have a deposit system: you pay 25 cents extra, which you get back upon returning the bottles. The Netherlands too has this system, which increases the percentage of bottles that are being recycled.
Merijn wants to see this deposit system being implemented for small plastic bottles as well.
In neighbouring country Germany, this system has already been implemented and they have a recycling percentage of 98%, proving that the system works perfectly.
He had 60,000 people sign a petition saying they want this system to happen and has handed it to the Lower House of Parliament. Many parties signed their name as well, promising to vote in favour of the system on December 13th.
Merijn is currently confronting CEO’s of major plastic producing companies. He’s sending bailiffs with the first in the world ‘formal notice’
As we know more and more about the harm of plastic pollution to our environment, producers should take far more responsibility and take active measures to prevent their plastic packaging from being littered or spilled. Supermarket Albert Heijn is the largest company still resisting the implementation of deposit return on small plastic bottles in the Netherlands.
Shocking plastic statistics
We can’t stress enough how harmfull and extensive the plastic waste problem is…
- 20 million kilograms of waste are spilled into the North Sea yearly, mostly plastic.
- 14 million plastic bottles end up in the Dutch environment yearly.
- 40,000 kilogram of plastic waste goes down the Rhine into the North Sea every year.
- there is 2000 kg of plastic waste per square kilometer of beach worldwide
- 100,000 sea mammals die as a result of marine plastic pollution every year
- 1,000,000 sea birds die as a result of marine plastic pollution each year.
We’re in dire need of more restrictions and and sanctions on plastic!
Changes in design and legislation should be acted upon with priority wherever there is risk of plastic litter ending up in a river, lake or sea