Thousands of people gathered in 100 locations across Israel’s shoreline on October 30 to carry out a huge beach cleanup and possibly break a world record in the process.
The “World’s Biggest Beach Cleanup” initiative saw 18,000 people pick up 62 tons of trash from beaches on the Mediterranean coast, the Sea of Galilee and the Red Sea, according to organizers.
Participants included individual volunteers and volunteers from local and governmental authorities, environmental protection organizations and foreign embassies.
According to the event’s organizers, the number of participants marks a beach cleanup world record, but this has yet to be determined by Guinness World Records.
“The problem of plastics and single-use plastic is no longer one that can be ignored, and you can already feel and see the damage in the sea and at the beaches,” the organizers wrote on Facebook. “The future is already here and it’s time to wake up so that future generations will also be able to enjoy beautiful and clean beaches.”
Every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic is thrown into the sea around the world. A study in Israel last year by the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institution showed that some 70 percent of the debris in the local sea is comprised of the remains of plastic bags and packaging.
This year, disposable facemasks and gloves made an unwelcome addition to the garbage strewn across the country’s beaches.