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Large volunteer sand and sea cleanup planned for Friday

Event in and around Mediterranean, Red Sea and Sea of Galilee aimed at pressing for more marine reserves and better enforcement against litterbugs, single-use plastic ban

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Diver volunteers helping to collect trash from the Mediterranean Sea. (Dov Greenblatt, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel)
Diver volunteers helping to collect trash from the Mediterranean Sea. (Dov Greenblatt, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel)

A massive beach and sea cleanup day will take place on Friday to draw policymakers’ attention to the need to better protect marine life.

Thousands of volunteers are expected to help collect trash, from Rosh Hanikra in the country’s far north to Ashkelon on the southern Mediterranean coast. Cleanups will also take place on the Eilat beaches in southern Israel and in and around the Sea of Galilee.

Some 100 information stations will be set up along the various routes.

The cleanup will start at 8 a.m. and continue into the afternoon, in line with Health Ministry coronavirus regulations.

Diver volunteers helping to collect trash from the Mediterranean Sea. (Dov Greenblatt, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel)

Taking part are the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Environmental Protection Ministry, Life and Environment, Green Course, Zalul, EcoOcean, the scouts movement, the US Embassy in Israel, European Union representatives, divers groups and local authorities.

An SPNI spokesman said the campaign sought to influence decision-makers to establish more marine reserves, ban single-use plastic at beaches and increase enforcement and against litterbugs.

Further information about the event can be found here in Hebrew.

A young turtle tangled up in a green plastic ‘jute’ bag, photographed at the Israel Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. (YouTube/Israel Nature and Parks Authority screenshot)

Some eight million tons of plastic are thrown into the sea worldwide each year.

Nearly three-quarters of the trash found in Israeli waters in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea consists of bits of plastic bags and plastic containers, according to the National Marine Waste Monitoring Report for 2019, published on October 14.

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