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LAPP participates at Plastic Avengers Conference

On Friday 8 February, the first Plastic Avengers Conference took place in Amsterdam. Initiator Merijn Tinga, the Plastic Soup Surfer from Leiden, brought together ‘independent plastic fighters' to arrive at a manifesto against plastic pollution. The Leiden Advocacy Project on Plastic was also invited to give a presentation.

With more than one hundred litter clearers at the event, there was lots of attention for clean-up activities in the Netherlands. From clearing plastic on a Stand Up Paddler by SUP CLEAN UP to GoClean Foundation with its own pricking and grabbing tools, there were lots of tips on how to collect rubbish in a more effective way. 'Litter initiator' Dirk Groot, one of the founders involved in plastic cleaning, spoke about the importance of data. Every piece of litter is photographed by him and saved using the Litterati app, so that an overview is made of what has been found. Using this, he confronts policymakers and manufacturers to stimulate them to find solutions.

During the workshops there were opportunities to exchange ideas with various speakers and organisations.  Practical tips for campaigning, the acquisition of funds by foundations and promoting activities via social media were some of the topics.

Beer glasses

Leiden was well represented with the presence of Merijn Tinga, the Leiden Advocacy Project on Plastic (LAPP) and CanalCups. Esther Kentin from LAPP gave a presentation on how students provide legal advice to NGOs who are involved in plastic pollution. A number of students from LAPP also took part in the workshops. Biology students from CanalCups told of the thousands of disposable cups they had collected from the canals following the Leidens Ontzet festivities last year. The photo exhibition on Instagram and in the Old School gallery demonstrated the enormity of the problem. With their campaign, the students want to make sure that next year reusable beer glasses with a returnable deposit will be used.

In second round of workshops the 'Plastic Avengers Manifesto' was discussed. This manifesto contains five guidelines to stimulate the prevention and limitation of plastic pollution. At the end of the afternoon, the manifesto was presented to Suzanne Kröger, a member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Green Left party. In the coming weeks the manifesto will be developed further and published on the website of the Plastic Avengers Conference. The enthusiasm of the participants to collaborate more in the future will undoubtedly lead to a follow-up to this afternoon.

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