On 14th December 2016 representatives from KIMO Denmark met with the Danish minister of the Environment, Esben Lunde Larsen. Preben Friis-Hauge, chairman of KIMO Denmark, and Ryan Metcalfe, KIMO Denmark’s network coordinator, were both in attendance and reported back that the meeting was well-natured and productive. Mr Larsen hails from a town in the Ringkøbing Skjern municipal area, a coastal community which is a member of KIMO Denmark. As such, he has a closer connection with coastal issues than previous ministers. KIMO’s representatives were heartened by Mr Larsen’s positive can-do attitude and his commitment to tackling the plastics issue, especially the problems of microplastics and marine litter. KIMO Denmark used the opportunity to draw the Environment Minister’s attention to the persistent problem of paraffin pollution on Danish beaches. It was an honour and a privilege for KIMO Denmark to be invited to this meeting.
Mr Friis-Hauge and Mr Metcalfe proceeded to meet with members from the Ministry of the Environment – a further indication that KIMO Denmark is considered a valued partner in dealing with environmental challenges. The ministry showed an interest in KIMO’s ideas and stated that they welcome further contributions from KIMO as we are working hands on and are thus closer to the environmental problems on the ground. The ministry will be collecting ideas for a 3 million Kroner campaign in 2017-2018 with a focus on reducing marine litter from the fishing industry, leisure boating, harbours and littering on beaches. KIMO Denmark will be invited to the initial meeting in January. Mr Metcalfe pointed out that should the campaign be effective, it could serve as a model for future campaigns in other KIMO countries and potentially be replicated even wider afield.