Chris Sherrington, Principal Consultant, and Chiarina Darrah, Senior Consultant at Eunomia addressed delegates at the Clean Europe Network’s Stop Litter Now Summit on Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th April in Brussels.
The summit, which included a keynote address from Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, heard presentations from a range of speakers from across Europe.
Chiarina’s talk ‘Unclogging Europe’s Arteries’ discussed riverine litter as part of the ‘Land and Sea – Interlinked Solutions’ session. She presented the findings of a study undertaken by Eunomia to develop a methodology for determining the effectiveness of local interventions to reduce the level of litter entering the aquatic environment.
Chris drew upon research underpinning numerous litter-related reports written by Eunomia over the past few years, to emphasise the hidden costs of litter, the relative contribution from different sources to marine litter, and the challenges associated with removal once it has entered the sea. He went on to demonstrate the way in which economic instruments targeted at specific items can prevent litter, and waste, and deliver improved local environmental quality. As argued in a Eunomia publication from 2015, such an approach will be more cost-effective, and fairer, than current mainstream approaches to discouraging littering and funding its clean-up.
Chris then took part in a panel debate which focused on the question of where responsibility should lie for both litter prevention and removal. Other participants included Vanya Veras from Municipal Waste Europe, Dominique Viel from the French Ministry of Finance, Johanna Ragnartz from Håll Sverige Rent, and Jane Bickerstaffe from INCPEN.
The two-day long conference took place at Hotel Bloom in Brussels.
Following the event Chris said:
“While the challenge of addressing litter can at times seem overwhelming, a significant reduction in littering can be achieved by applying the right financial incentives. In addition to litter prevention, they can also reduce the generation of waste, and deliver high return rates of materials of sufficient quality to enable closed loop recycling – all essential aspects of moving towards a more circular economy.”
“There are some really interesting initiatives on the horizon for local authorities and voluntary groups that can be supported by measures applied at the national scale. With a co-ordinated approach both land-based and marine litter can be effectively tackled, and this is just the kind of forum that can get all the right people talking to each other to help this happen.”
The full programme from the event can be found here.