Belgian surf clubs are showing the way this summer with the Clean Beach CLUB sustainability label.
Surfers are tired of cleaning up beach rubbish and litter.
"The beach clubs have always been at the forefront, they are confronted with litter day in - day out, they are the fighters of the first hour!"
-Citation : Bart Tommelein-
Seventeen surf clubs along the Belgian coast are taking concrete action to tackle litter. They ban plastic straws and stirrers, limit individual packaging and use reusable cups during events. By offering tap water in reusable drinking bottles during summer camps, the clubs limit the use of plastic bottles. But there is more: beach ashtrays are also handed out to sunbathers and there will also be no-smoking zones on the beach, in order to prevent the problem of cigarette butts. And there is the Proper Strange Bag, which people can take along on their walk along the beach and collect their beach waste in it. All these action points were collected on a wooden board that will hang in the clubs. When a club complies with an action, it is indicated on the board.
Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the sea worldwide. This was shown in a study by the World Wildlife Fund published earlier this month. Also: during the summer, the pollution in our seas increases. Waste that is not washed up ends up on the seabed or is broken down into harmful microplastics. Belgian surfers have been seeing their playground turn into a landfill for longer than a day, which is why some clubs have been cleaning up their beaches for more than 20 years. In the spring, they do this together during the annual 'Eneco Clean Beach Cup'. To tackle litter and beach waste throughout the year, the sustainability label 'Clean Beach Club' was established. Because the clubs want to surf on waves, not on waste. They are tired of cleaning up other people's waste, and the action points tackle the problem at source.
To obtain the Clean Beach Club sustainability label, clubs must organise at least two clean-up campaigns a year, tackle the problem of cigarette butts and make five changes to reduce plastic waste. Good examples are exchanged during various inspiration sessions and the clubs also receive extra guidance. Themes such as waste, energy, water consumption, rainwater recovery, LED lighting, awareness and so on will be discussed.
"In addition to cleaning up, the surf clubs now also want to tackle the waste problem at the source and set a good example. As sports federation, we see it as our task to bring the clubs together and to set up actions together. Each club will have a sign with five action points on it. - Federation Wind & Watersport Flanders.
Marine Environment Service: "Minister De Backer launched the action plan on marine litter for the Marine Environment Service of the FPS Public Health and is thus at the basis of the cooperation between the FPS and the Marine Environment Service.g with Wind- en Watersport Vlaanderen. The approach to marine litter must be multifaceted: from prevention at the source, to awareness-raising and monitoring compliance with legislation. But if we want to use resources efficiently, it is crucial that there is cooperation and that everyone assumes their role in this story. From local to international level: the sea begins with yourself!"
"Working towards a sustainable planet is a continuous process. It is not a snapshot. We must always be alert and encourage each other to ensure that our climate commitments continue in the long term. With Eneco, we are therefore happy to participate in initiatives that make people aware and considerate, and that keep our earth a little cleaner every day. We want to take care of future generations", says Kristof Van Genck of Eneco. "To be able to count on all the surf and sports clubs in this respect further strengthens us in the value of this project. Sustainability really is everyone's business."
List 17 participating surf clubs along the beach
From west to east:
1. Sailing Caravan Club De Krab & Royal Sand Yacht Club De Panne
2. Side Shore Surfers De Panne
3. Koksijde Yacht Club
4. Sand Yacht Club Oostduinkerke
5. Surfclub Windekind Oostduinkerke
6. Surfclub Westende Nieuwpoort
7. Outside Surfclub Ostend
8. Ostend Sailing
9. Twins Club Bredene
10. De Windhaan De Haan
11. Surfclub Elephant Wenduine
12. O'Neill Beachclub Blankenberge
13. Icarus Surfclub Zeebrugge
14. Anemos Beachclub Heist
15. RBSC Duinbergen
16. RBSC Zoute
17. Surfers Paradise Knokke-Heist
Complete list of all surfing & sailing clubs in Flanders on the Website of Wind & Watersport Flanders