By: Adv Pranita Deshpande
The Hague, Netherlands: The Embassy of India in The Hague in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Government of the Netherlands organized a G20 Beach Clean-up at the famous Scheveningen beach in The Hague on Friday.
“Addressing marine litter” is one of the focus areas under India’s G20 Presidency. The beach cleanup drive in The Hague is part of India’s global initiative to bring attention to the problem of marine litter and the need to work together towards sustainable development of oceans.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Reenat Sandhu highlighted the powerful message behind the theme of India’s G20 Presidency – ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’. She emphasised the importance of Mission LiFE (Lifestyle For Environment) and the need to adopt sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyles. Underscoring India’s sustained efforts to mitigate marine litter, she mentioned about the mega beach cleanup campaign held in India in 2022 where 75 beaches were cleaned over a period of 75 days.
The Government of the Netherlands was represented by Afke van Rijn, Director General and Vice-Minister for Environment at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management. Afke van Rijn appreciated India’s commitment to promoting international cooperation in addressing challenges of environment pollution and climate change. She highlighted the efforts by the Netherlands government to combat plastic litter at national level.
The event was also supported by the Municipality of The Hague. Representing the City, Deputy Mayor Hilbert Bredemeijer spoke about some of the unique initiatives taken in the Netherlands, in particular in The Hague, to address marine pollution.
Ambassadors and diplomatic colleagues from other G20 countries and invited countries also participated in the beach cleanup.
More than 150 people including local Dutch citizens actively participated in the beach cleanup activity and jointly collected 240 kgs of marine litter including 5410 cigarette butts. Two civil society organizations in the Netherlands working on raising awareness of marine litter in the North Sea – the Stichting Noordzee and TrashUre Hunt were also part of the campaign.
A ‘Waste-to-Art’ open air exhibition, showcasing art objects made from trash collected at the beach, was also mounted, which was visited by several hundreds of people at the Scheveningen Beach.
All the G20 members and guest countries have joined hands with India to raise public awareness regarding marine litter. India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change will be organizing a beach cleaning drive involving the delegations from various G20 Members and Guest countries on May 21 in Mumbai, on the sidelines of the G20 meetings on environment. The initiative will draw global attention to the need to combat coastal and marine pollution and the role of citizens and their participation in preventing and cleaning up marine litter.