44 Belgian ships pulled two tonnes of rubbish from the North Sea in 2017, says State Secretary Philippe De Backer (Open Vld). He gave these figures while talking about World Cleanup Day.
Around 20,000 tonnes of rubbish ends up in the North Sea every year, 75% of which is plastic. The State Secretary launched a plan called Fishing for Litter in 2016: Fishermen bring back big bags of rubbish they have pulled out of the sea.
They collected two tonnes in 2017, which was then recycled. “Rubbish being dumped in the sea is a huge problem and big a threat to plants and animals. Fishermen are out at sea every day and see loads of it. Their efforts really make a difference”, says Philippe De Backer, the North Sea State Secretary.
Most of the rubbish collected is nets, rope, rubber etc. “This rubbish is then given a second life through the recycling process. We are looking for new opportunities to support the circular economy every day”.
World Cleanup Day is being held in 150 countries. Millions of volunteers throughout the world will collect rubbish together on Saturday.