Tómas J. Knútsson, leader of the Blue Army in Iceland, an organization dedicated to keeping the sea and the shore clean, cleaned 3.5 tons of plastic from beaches in May but could not find anywhere to take it.
He says in the end it came down to paying for a waste company to take it, or distribute it back onto the beach.
Luckily, since the news was first reported early in the week, he has had dozens of offers of help, RÚV reports.
Tómas says that after 20 years of cleaning up in nature, he is not sure whether or not to continue if things do not change. He says that although Sorpa has offered to take this May’s plastic waste for free, it bothers him that it goes to landfill. Surely we can find some other life for this plastic, and see if it has a future, he muses.
He has been using his moment in the sun, talking to reporters and the environment ministry about what can be done. “We have to show the world how responsible we are. Make a show of cleaning it off the shore and do something else with it. It is first and foremost an effort to keep our sea and land clean,” he says—adding that he knows old ways need time to change, but hoping that a litter revolution is in the offing.
Tómas is now preparing the summer’s second coastal cleaning mission, which will be a co-operative project between the Blue Army, the American embassy, Landvernd and the Icelandic Nature Protection Association.