The beginning of February saw dozens of #breakfreefromplastic campaigners and activists gathering in Marrakech, Morocco looking for new ways to work together change the face of the Mediterranean with their projects.
Movement members from Barcelona, to Beirut and most Mediterranean countries in between shared their common culture, love of food and traditional zero waste crafts to develop common campaigns and activities. Over the 4 days of meetings incredible stories of the campaigns were shared and the diverse range of experience in the room was put to good use building a stronger #breakfreefromplastic presence in the Mediterranean.
Since the close of the meeting we have been sharing some of these amazing people, and their work on our Instagram and Twitter accounts. Now we would like to share them with you here:
From Madrid, Alodia Pérez Muñoz, a Natural Resources and Waste campaigner for Friends of the Earth Spain (Amigos de la Tierra), shared her experiences of working at the city level to tackle plastic pollution. “We are working with cities to reduce their waste, primarily their plastic waste, to get a cleaner world. We are working on the beaches and in natural spaces to remove he most common litter in our world”.
A representative of the movement’s host organisation in Morocco, Mamoun Ghallab from Zero Zbel (Zero Waste Morocco) explained how their organisation have been working to reinforce the countries plastic bag ban “I am one of the co-founders of Zero Zbel which means ‘Zero Waste’ in Morocco. We raise awareness of people’s behaviour and how to reduce our waste and environmental impact. We also do advocacy work mostly about plastic pollution in the coastal areas, and how to ban plastic bags effectively.”
He went on to tell how #breakfreefromplastic had brought together organisations from across the region, to coordinate their work and share the cultural aspects which they have in common; “It has been almost a year since 20 - 30 NGO’s from across the Mediterranean came together to form the Break Free From Plastic Mediterranean group and we are coordinating all together to launch actions and campaigns to create positive change on issues which affect us all in the ‘Mare Nostrum’ as we call the Mediterranean.”
Zoran Tonic, the office director for Greenpeace Croatia, and coordinator for their work on plastics told us how "Greenpeace has been campaigning on plastic in the Mediterranean region for the past two years" He continued saying that "this year we are continuing with a special emphasis and focus on single use plastic.”
Giulia Carlini, a lawyer with CIEL (Center for International Environmental Law) said “I am an attorney for CIEL, based in Geneva. We are part of Break Free From Plastic and are looking at the entire lifecycle of plastic. We believe that the impacts of plastic arise at every single stage and especially at its production. I look specifically at the global law and policy around plastic, from the United Nations process to what can happen at the international, regional and local level that can be relevant to combat plastic pollution.” Giulia has been involved in working to combat plastic pollution in various UN conventions including the UNEA 3 meeting in Kenya in December.
From Lebanon, Joslin and Salua from Recycle Lebanon shared their exciting new projects and plans for their country. Their organisation founded during Lebanon's waste crisis presented a beacon of hope for the region with innovative solutions and a strong social base for their work. “I am Joslin Khdrey, [left in photo] founder of Recycle Lebanon, an NGO established during Lebanon’s waste crisis to regenerate the system. We take a holistic approach focusing on legislation, cleanups, education, data visualisation, open sourcing, and our most exciting project the ‘EcoSouk’ - access to circular living.”
“I am Salua Moussawel,[right in photo] from Recycle Lebanon, and I am part of the team. I am super excited to be here for Break Free From Plastic Mediterranean.”
These stories are just the beginning for the #breakfreefromplastic movement in the Mediterranean and the groups have been working together to coordinate larger and more effective actions across the region in the coming month. So stay tuned to hear more from the emergent movement across the Mediterranean sea!