Great commitment for «the world’s biggest plastic waste clean-up»
30 UiB students and collaborators attended the Rein Hardangerfjord (Clean Hardangerfjord) event the 15th of September. The project has been called “the world’s biggest plastic waste clean-up”. You can see photos from the clean-up in Kvam here.
(English translation by Lise Samdal)
"It is overwhelming to see how much plastic waste there is", Sofie Karlstad and Anna Christensen Mathiassen says.
They were among the 28 students that joined Plastnettverket at UiB (the plastic network) in Mundheim, Kvam, as part of the clean-up project Rein Hardangerfjord. In a few hours the students filled up about 50 bags with plastic and it is estimated that they removed 500 kg of waste from the nature.
"Even though we have cleaned up a lot it’s sad to leave an area when there still is a lot of plastic left. But it would take a very long time to clean everything, if it’s even possible", the two of them said, and added:
"One of the impressions that we are left with is that these types of projects are important. At the same time we feel a little powerless because there is so much and there is still getting more plastic waste in nature. The most important thing is that we stop polluting".
Thousands of volunteers
“The world’s biggest plastic waste clean-up” is organised by "Stiftelsen Framtidshavet", the Hardanger council, the Cooperation Council for Sunnhordaland. The 15th of September thousands of volunteers gather to clear plastic along the Hardangerfjord. You can read more about the project here (Text in Norwegian).
The university’s Sustainability pilots were also a part of the event and talked to NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) in between cleaning.
"We have to take responsibility for all the waste that is left in our nature that can harm both the environment and animal life. I am very glad that we are here to clean up today – it gives me hope, but it’s terrible to see all this waste, sustainability pilot, Silje Synøve Høgelid, said on the NRK news".
- Watch the news story from NRK here.
The group from UiB got local help with the clean-up. The Mayor of Kvam, Torgeir Næss, put on his working-gloves and took charge of one of the three groups of UiB-students.
"There has been great commitment from the students. One part of this is that we have cleaned a lot of plastic waste. I have also gotten the impression that many feels that it was a special experience to be a part of this type of event and see with their own eyes how big of a problem this actually is", the mayor said after the clean-up.
He thinks that these types of projects are useful as an eyeopener for society.
"The attention surrounding this, and other plastic waste clean-up projects, is important. It may be an eyeopener for many, regarding plastic packaging and generally reckless use of plastic", he says.
Bringing together different actors with a common goal
"Rein Hardangerfjord is an important project where you can see the results of the effort immediately – and anyone who wants to, can participate. It is a great initiative that is brings together different actors with a common goal, anything from research to commerce, politics, and a general interest in the population. This makes it important for the plastic network at UiB to show our involvement in this", says the leader of the plastic network at UiB, Odd André Karlsen.
He is happy to see how involved the students are.
"The students put in a very good effort. With the commitment they display I am sure we could have filled up even more buses with students to the Hardangerfjord", Karlsen says and adds:
"Of course, we are aiming to participate in the clean-up next year as well!"
Thursday evening the leader of the project, Kenneth Bruvik, informed NRK that there were registered 151 different clean-up projects along the fjord. At that time, he had heard back form 64 of these, and together they had cleared 17,5 tonnes of plastic, but this number will grow as the results are registered.