Volunteers collect garbages from a beach in the outskirts of Oslo, Norway, May 6, 2018. A total of 45,000 people were engaged Saturday in a big cleaning action on beaches throughout Norway, news agency NTB reported. (Xinhua/Liang Youchang)
OSLO, May 5 (Xinhua) -- A total of 45,000 people were engaged Saturday in a big cleaning action on beaches throughout Norway, news agency NTB reported.
"The engagement is absolutely enormous. 45,000 are participating in the big beach cleaning day, which is more than double compared to last year," said Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg also contributed to the beach cleaning on Saturday, in Meland municipality north of western city Bergen, the report said.
According to Elvestuen, not only would the waste, which has remained on beaches for many years, be removed, the action would also help in raising people's awareness of this global problem.
"This is perhaps the fastest growing environmental issue we have internationally, and it is a huge task to reverse the development. Eight million tons of plastic end up in the sea every year," he said.
"We have to reverse the development and ensure that we have clean seas in future as well. To achieve this, we need to mobilize not only individuals, but also local organizations and companies, and the state must take responsibility," Elvestuen said.
Despite waste that is still to be found in many places, Elvestuen was optimistic about the future.
"It is a completely different situation now than just five years back in time. It shows that the Norwegian people have woken up, acknowledged the problem and are willing to address it, "he said.
This year's Beach Cleaning Day in Norway takes place on Saturday and is the highlight of the beach cleaning week, which runs from April 30 to May 6.
Norway's Beach Cleaning Day was organized for the first time in 2011 and has grown every year since. It is part of an international campaign that has been going on for many years, originating in the U.S. environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy.
The Ocean Conservancy has been coordinating International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), which falls on the third Saturday of September every year and is the world's largest single-day volunteer effort to remove trash from beaches and waterways.
Since the first ICC over 30 years ago, more than 12 million volunteers around the world have removed more than 220 million pounds of trash, according to the Ocean Conservancy.