Eight million metric tons of plastic waste are dumped in our oceans every year. It’s ashore on the beach, floating on the surface and sinking to the seabed to harm marine life all over the world.
Just last week, Sir David Attenborough told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that “to chuck plastic into the ocean is an insult – we must stop“. Enough is enough and, in recent years, we’ve seen governments, environmental bodies and manufactures work together to try and change the world’s relationship with plastic to reduce the amount that ends up in our oceans. Nikon has joined this effort, and is taking steps to raise awareness.
Picking up the pieces
Helping protect the environment remains a key priority for Nikon, which is why, for the second year running, we’ve joined forces with the Sea First Foundation – an organisation committed to the conservation of coasts and marine life – for a ‘beach cleanup’ event held in The Netherlands.
Fifty-five Nikon employees from our European headquarters made the journey to Ijmuiden beach, near Amsterdam. Here, alongside the Foundation, our volunteers collected over 769 pieces of waste, ranging from a myriad of plastic pieces to cigarette butts and broken glass, bottles and cans. Plastic was the most common material found, collected five times more frequently than any other material.
This year, we did it differently. When Nikon employee volunteers arrived, we were introduced to Litterati: an app that aims to tackle pollution one piece at a time. This is done through Litterati’s growing global community that collects, identifies and geotags everything collected, building a visual map of the world’s litter. Of course, Nikon Europe had to join! Curious to join? The Litterati app is available for apple and android devices.
It’s all in the education
For the Sea First foundation, education and word of mouth are the most powerful tools in driving plastic reduction. For the second year, we were delighted to welcome Dos Winkel, the Founder of Sea First Foundation, to our office to give a lecture on the impact plastic waste is having on our environment.
During this talk, it was particularly concerning to hear that it takes around 450 years for a single use plastic bottle to break down in the marine environment. The Foundation is running similar workshops at schools across the country, explaining how plastic is adversely affecting the ocean, sea life and the human body.
Nikon’s involvement in this is part of our ongoing community collaboration and contribution, as we work with local companies to protect the place we call home and ensure our employees are engaged in causes that matter.
The danger of plastic waste isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, it was frustrating to see it visibly building up again within a week of our cleanup. That’s why we believe it’s so important to promote the small but significant steps individuals and companies can regularly take to help make a difference.
Following the cleanup, Nikon Europe’s President Tetsuya Morimoto presented the Sea First Foundation €1,000 – a gesture which will hopefully enable the organisation to continue its vital work in conserving the beaches and marine life of The Netherlands.