Branch Office Opens in Barcelona, Spain
Plastic Oceans Europe to Advance Mission to End Plastic Pollution
February 18, 2020 – MALIBU, Calif., U.S.A. – Plastic Oceans International, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to solving plastic pollution, today announced that it has expanded its operations to Europe, opening their newest branch office in Barcelona, Spain, as Plastic Oceans Europe.
This establishment of Plastic Oceans Europe builds on the momentum that Plastic Oceans International (Plastic Oceans) has developed via its headquarters in Los Angeles, California, and with existing branch offices in Vancouver, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; and partner organizations around the world.
“Although we’ve been active in Europe for several years, opening this branch allows us to be much more effective in our efforts to deliver our programs there,” said Julie Andersen, Global Executive Director for Plastic Oceans. “In many ways, it’s the hub of the plastic pollution movement, so it only made sense to put boots on the ground and improve our ability to inform, inspire and incite change that leads to real solutions.”
Leading the charge in Barcelona, as executive director of Plastic Oceans Europe, is Mike Bilodeau. He previously founded the environmental NGO, Coast Wize, and has worked as a Dive Master, eco tour guide, and a Biodiversity Ranger for the Department of Conservation in New Zealand.
“Europe is an amazing and diverse place, so it’s no wonder that there’s such a dense population and high volume of tourists,” said Bilodeau. “But this has created a major problem with plastic pollution and single-use waste. Plastic Oceans Europe will work with communities, governments, and NGO’s in order to increase awareness and to turn off the tap to this ongoing and concerning issue.”
Efforts will focus on the Mediterranean Sea, the North Atlantic and other marine and freshwater systems of the continent, delivering programs that center on activism, advocacy, education, filmmaking, science and social entrepreneurship.
Bilodeau noted eye-opening data that speaks to the fact that there is still much work to be done in Europe:
- Europeans generate over 25 million tons of plastic waster per year, of which about 40% is recycled.
- Over 10 million tons of plastic is dumped in our oceans per year, with over half-a-million making its way to the Mediterranean Sea.
- Over 247 billion pieces of plastic are floating in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Plastic pollution costs Mediterranean countries over €640 million per year, most directly impacting the tourism, maritime and fishing industries.
“These numbers don’t paint a pretty picture,” said Bilodeau. “But we also don’t need fancy infographics to tell us that. On any given day I can walk the beaches of Barcelona and see with my own eyes the impact that our convenience culture is having on our planet. From cigarette butts and candy wrappers, to plastic straws, baby wipes, tampons, maxi pads and more. It’s a problem that is as much related to human behavior, as it is to waste management and a lack of knowledge. My goal is to help change that.”
Plastic Oceans Europe will officially kick off their launch with an event to be held at Sharma Climbing, in Barcelona, on February 26, 2020, 7pm to 9pm. In addition to some short educational films, speakers will include Bilodeau and iconic rock climber, Chris Sharma, who now serves as a Global Ambassador for Plastic Oceans International.
About Plastic Oceans International
Plastic Oceans International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving plastic pollution. It aims to change consumer behavior, corporate and public policy, and foster solutions to the global crisis. More than 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually and increasing, yet more than 90% of all plastic is not recycled. At least eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year—equal to a garbage truck per minute. Science proves plastic pollutes the air, water and food chain, threatening human health, wildlife and the planet. Plastic Oceans informs, inspires and incites action to affect change with constructive films and digital content, complemented by advocacy, scientific research, education and awareness initiatives. Learn more at plasticoceans.org and on Facebook @PlasticOceans, Instagram @plasticoceans, Twitter @PlasticOceansUS and YouTube @PlasticOceansInternational.
Head of Global Operations, Plastic Oceans International
Executive Director, Plastic Oceans Europe
+34 697 21 77 57