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Call to action on World Environment Day

Call to action on World Environment Day

By Stephanie Horsman - June 4, 2020

Friday 5th June is World Environment Day and there are a myriad of things being done all over Monaco and the Riviera to help improve and protect the world around us.

World Environment Day has been celebrated every 5th June since 1974. Created under the auspices of the United Nations, the campaign has grown its own wings and has become a flagship vehicle for raising awareness and action surrounding the plight of the environment.

In Monaco, where the tradition for environmental causes runs deep due at least partly to the activism of the Prince, there will be several ways for the people of the Principality to show their support for the world around us.  

Stars’N’Bars is hosting a special electronic waste collection outside the restaurant from 10am to 5:30pm where people can bring their unwanted gadgets, cables, small household appliances, batteries, neon lighting or light bulbs that would otherwise end up in the general rubbish heaps or in recycle bins.

Kate Powers, founder Stars N’ Bars

“If they end up at the energy recovery plant, in the sorting bins (yellow or green) or, worse still, in a landfill, they can contaminate recyclable materials, pollute the atmosphere, or even contaminate the water table phreatic – the source of our drinking water,” said Kate Powers, owner of Stars’N’Bars and creator of the initiative.  

Once collected, they will be handed over to organisations who specialise in dealing with these kinds of materials and will process them in an eco-friendly way.

Another programme that has become even more urgent since the health crisis is one set up by the Fondation de la Mer called Un Geste Pour La Mer (Operation Clean Sea). The virus has increased the number of plastic gloves, masks, disinfectant gel bottles and anti-bacterial wipes being used exponentially. An estimated 200 million disposable masks are currently distributed each week in France, and gloves are handed out at shops everywhere.

Photo of the Med, by Opération Mer Propre

 An extraordinary amount of these wind up in the sea where they settle on the bed and cause havoc to the delicate ecosystem. Couple that with the possibility that some of these items are contaminated and the impact potential is huge. The organisation is asking that people have a care when disposing of these items and switch to reusable items when possible.

“We were rather unpleasantly surprised when we started to see gloves that were buried in the sand,” Joffrey Peltier, founder of Operation Clean Sea, told The Associated Press. “(A mask looked) like a jellyfish, we didn’t know exactly what it was at first. The amount of virus garbage remains limited, but it’s the promise of pollution to come if nothing is done. On our beautiful Cote d’Azur, we know that as soon it starts to rain, all the garbage coming from the gutters will end up in the sea.”

The parliament member representing Alpes-Maritimes, Eric Pauget, is proposing a bill that will result in a €300 fine for those caught dumping face masks or gloves improperly.

Finally, here is one just for the kids. The Animal Fund has set up a competition for children aged 7 to 14 asking them to create a drawing or video about plastic pollution’s effects on marine life and the planet. The best 24 projects will win a sea excursion to see the dolphins and whales of the Med.  

Entries will be accepted from 1st to 30th June and can be submitted info@theanimalfund.net.  For additional info visit their website at www.theanimalfund.net

These positive actions to impact the environment are but a few in the Principality and surrounding area. Small gestures on the part of citizens also make big differences, so take a minute and think what you can do for your planet on World Environment Day and every day!

 

Top photo by Monaco Life, all rights reserved

 

 

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