UPDATED: Record numbers of people signed up as volunteers to help pick up trash along Norway’s long coastline over the weekend, from Svalbard in the Arctic to Sørlandet in the south. The annual campaign Hold Norge Rent (Keep Norway Clean) had already attracted 25,000 volunteers as of a few weeks ago.
That compares to around 19,000 who took part last year, project leader Malin Jacob told news bureau NTB. She said around 2,000 people took part in the first day formally set aside for beach-cleaning in 2011, called Strandryddedagen, so the growth has been considerable.
Last year’s effort collected 244 tons of garbage and more is expected this year, as Norway joins the international effort on Saturday launched by the US-based Ocean Conservancy. On the islands of Hvaler off southeast Norway, cleaners found evidence that much of the garbage that beached during the winter came with currents from abroad. They found the remains of many items not produced in Norway, but in Great Britain and northern Europe instead.
This year’s spring cleaning has already been underway for awhile in some areas, with the Norwegian Maritime Museum even creating a new exhibit out of trash plucked off beaches and rocks along Norway coast. The goal is to highlight how vulnerable the oceans are to garbage, and the environmental hazards that creates. The exhibit opened to the public on Saturday and runs through January.