The European Litter Prevention Association

Thank you for sharing

22 April 2016

Two days of intense deliberations about the urgent need to tackle litter and littering have left us all with a renewed sense of mission. Participants at the Stop Litter Now! Summit reflected on the hidden costs that litter corresponds to for our societies in terms of the impact it has on our health and wellbeing, but also on the huge economic opportunity that a litter-free Europe represents both in terms of scarce resources that could be freed from the need to deal with litter and also in terms of the direct financial gains we could see from things like increased value of real estate.

It was an honour to have Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, among us. His speech reflected the overall theme of the Summit itself - the need for all the stakeholders to be involved in the fight against litter and littering: “Action on litter needs to involve policy makers and regulators. It's a matter for national authorities and industry, and crucially it involves citizens from all over. In Europe, as everywhere else, we all share responsibility for litter prevention.”

Making your best practices more widespread, and addressing marine litter at source is the surest route we have to implementing the UN goals on sustainable development. Does that sound too ambitious? I don't think so. Litter is never just litter. It is a sign of how our society functions. It is not just about clean parks and beaches. It is a reflection of the level of awareness that we have of our consumption habits. Let's continue our efforts to make sure that, that reflection is a positive one.

We have taken his recommendations to heart as sharing best practices and tackling litter at the source - through prevention - is what the Clean Europe Network is all about. As our President Derek Robertson said in closing the Summit: "We can’t keep cleaning up. We really have to change our behaviour!”

FULL TRANSCRIPT of the speech of the Commissioner

The presentations and materials from the Summit are available here here.