Back in 2021, in a move that rang true with the team at Sustainable Coastlines, organisers of World Ocean Day decided to drop the ‘S’ from ‘oceans’. The reason? What we have categorised as distinct bodies of water is in reality a single ocean. This means that our actions to protect it are taken as part of a global community, acknowledging a shared climate and a shared future.
With the celebration coming around soon, on 8 June, we’re again reflecting on this, and what it means for us as a local charity working on the global problem of litter and plastic pollution. Tackling it here in Aotearoa New Zealand has implications beyond our shores. It’s true that if we clean up our act at home there will be less plastic flowing to the global ‘pool’ of ocean plastic. But more than that, homegrown solutions have the potential to build on positive change overseas, and we are privileged to have been invited to share the Litter Intelligence programme with communities in the Pacific.
For the last couple of years, we’ve collaborated with the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, also known as SPREP, delivering online Litter Intelligence training to enable communities to run litter surveys in Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Vanuatu, and Tonga. Based on the success of the initial pilot, the French Development Agency has provided funding to deliver in-person workshops, which will enable community groups, as well as local and central government staff, to run Litter Intelligence surveys and audits.
“The Litter Intelligence programme has great international standing and is seen as a best-practice tool for community engagement in litter monitoring and waste reduction action. We feel honoured to be invited to deliver training to community groups and government agencies across the Pacific,” says Sustainable Coastlines CEO Josh Borthwick.