The plastics industry has introduced a trawling net specially fitted to fish plastic waste out of the sea into in the fight against debris in Danish waters.
In the North Sea alone it is estimated that over 20,000 tonnes of waste winds up in the sea each year. Much of it is plastic, and members of the Danish plastics industry felt they had a responsibility to help clean up the mess.
"First and foremost, we want to shed light on the problems created when the sea is used as a dustbin,” Peter Skov, of Plasticindustien, a group representing the plastics industry, said in a press release. “It is bad for wildlife, fisheries and tourism and plastic is unfortunately a big part of the problem.”
Skov said that the new net was only a part of the solution to the waste problem. He pointed out that it is consumers, not the companies that manufacture plastic, that are responsible for it winding up in the sea.
The EU fisheries commissioner, Maria Daminaki, has floated the idea of having fishermen use the net during periods when they are not allowed to fish. Danish fishermen were open to the idea.
??“I am sure that they would be glad to fish for plastic if the money is there to ensure a profit for fishermen," said Svend-Erik Andersen of fishing union Danmarks Fiskeriforening.
Andersen said the fishing industry depends on healthy oceans and that helping with cleanup is in its own best interest.
The trash trawler was developed by a French company and has been deployed successfully in Spain, Portugal and Belgium. Plasticindustien demonstrated it to fishermen and politicians at the Folkemøde political jamboree held on Bornholm earlier this month.