Corsica and Ireland: No more plastic bags

Organizer: Office of the Environment, Corsica
Place of action : Corsica
Date of action : call for action in 1999

Description of the action: Since the project launch in 1999 by the organizers of the wind festival of Calvi, after discovering the urgency to find alternative solutions for decreasing the degradation and pollution of the landscape, the path towards prohibition was well established. On the 17th December 2002, the Office of the Environment, on Corsica, announced the launch of an operation to substitute plastic bags, with consultation of the spring population in 2003. In May 2003, the Territorial Assemble of Corsica voted for a motion to finally ban plastic bags on the Island and to encourage alternative non-polluting solutions.

Implementation: The Office of the Environment, on Corsica, launched an operation on the 17th December 2002 to substitute plastic bags, in association with the principal representatives of the large distributors, and in consultation with the spring population 2003.

State of the area before the action: 100 million bags were distributed on the Island and many of them thrown in nature…

State of the area today: since the 23rd and the 24th May 2003, the use and distribution of plastic bags is banned on the Island of Corsica !

Expedition Watch the Waste

Organizer :  Watch the Waste; a French association created to address issues of water pollution.  Watch the Waste organizes the collection of information for scientific research regarding water pollution.
Place of action : North East Atlantic
Date of action: The 10th October 2009 marked the beginning of the first waste watching expedition in the Atlantic !

Description of the action :  To identify the zones of conglomerated waste at high tide.  Watch the Waste wants to put in place the ‘PODEM’ , a device designed to allow a real time and interactive map to track conglomerated floating waste in the oceans.

Implementation:  Atlantic Expedition 2009/2010
Moyens mis en oeuvreThe first expedition of Watch the Waste was made to determine the materials required to install the ‘PODEM’, in order to identify and track conglomerated floating waste.  It left from the north Atlantic for identify the zones of conglomerated waste along its path.

State of the area before the action : Etat des lieux In 1999, Charles Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a conglomeration of waste four times the size of France in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.  Some of the difficulties in fighting this type of waste are a lack of visibility from afar, and a lack of public initiatives dedicated to the fight against macro-waste in deep seas.

State of the area today:  on the 12th December, the team left Dakar to explore the Atlantic Ocean in search of similar blankets of waste.

Méditerranean : prohibition on ship waste

Organizer: The United Nations (U.N.)
Place of action: Mediterranean sea
Date of action: 1 May 2009

Description of the action: In the framework of the Action Plan for the Mediterranean, the U.N prohibited the release of domestic waste by ships.

Implementation: The U.N has enacted a law prohibiting the release of ship waste into the sea.

State of the area before the action: Hard as it is to believe, before this restriction, ships could throw their ordinary waste into the sea after 12 nautical miles of the coast! The sea was legally a rubbish bin for these ships.

State of the area today: Today it is completely prohibited for ships to release their waste into the sea.

OSPAR for the quantification and characterisation of waste

Organizer : OSPAR, the OSPAR Convention is a legal device guiding the international cooperation for the protection of the marine environment of the north-east Atlantic.
Place of action : North East Atlantic, including 5 zones of studies :


Date of action: since 1993

Description of action: The OSPAR Convention contains a general obligation to collaborate for the regular monitoring and evaluation of the state of the marine environment in the maritime sector.
Implementation: A collection of 5 themed strategies were identified within the terms of reference of OSPAR : biodiversity and ecosystems ; eutrophication ; dangerous substances ; petrol, gas and offshore industries ; and radioactive substances. These strategies are connected by a program for common monitoring and evaluation, in order to establish and report the quality of the marine environment and to follow the implementation and the improvements in the marine environment. The strategies are integrated to support a systematical eco-approach.

State of area before action :

State of area today:

EuroSIMA : Polybags and the Surf industries

Organizer : EuroSIMA cluster ; private and public resources contributing to the promotion and development of the surf and other slide industries in the Aquitaine.
Place of action : Principally in the Aquitaine ; this initiative could also have  general application in textile industries throughout the world currently using polybags.
Date of action:  Initial studies started in 2008 (studies carried out to analyze the lifespan and eco-design of the polybag).

Description of the action : Surf industries buy and use plastic material used as a cover to protect their different products for sale, known as the polybag. descriptif de l'action It has been estimated that the slide industry internationally uses more than 100 million polybags per year.  Conscious of the environmental impacts of the polybag, these industries have formed a body to implement an analysis of the life cycle of the polybag and to carry out studies to find a more ecological solution.

Implementation: An analysis of the lifecycle of a polybag and a study of eco-design has been carried out.

Position before the action :  Each year the surf and other slide industries internationally use 100 million polybags to wrap and protect their products. The environmental impact of this is significant, as the polybag is not recyclable.

Position today:  A cost analysis of implementing a local and recyclable alternative scheme has shown the great environmental and economic interest in doing so.  Tests and negotiations are underway with the relevant recyclable plastic material businesses.
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