A new project is tackling marine litter and helping to keep beaches clean along the Danish coast. Six KIMO municipalities have launched a ‘Coastal Lottery’.
There is hardly a beach in the world that does not suffer from plastic pollution and other waste washing up on shore.
While armies of volunteers already take part in beach cleans all over Europe, KIMO Denmark has found a fun way to increase local collections and reward the public for their efforts.
Karen Sandrini is Chair of the Planning and Environment Committee of Esbjerg, one of the municipalities to launch the Danish Kystlotteriet (literally ‘Coastal Lottery’) in 2018:
“The idea for a Kysloteriet came from Norway. We heard about what they were doing there and thought it would also work in Denmark. Actually, I think it could work anywhere that has a beach!”.
The idea is simple. The lottery’s organisers have installed boxes and collection points along the coast. The boxes contain bags, tickets and an explanation for locals and visitors to the area.
Beach cleaners can fill a bag with whatever rubbish they find on the beach. To enter the lottery, people just need to fill in their name and contact details on the ticket, attach it to their bag, and return it to the collection point. The tickets are drawn at an annual ceremony in December.
In 2020 the prizes include days out at local holiday attractions and gift vouchers.
Cheap and effective
The cost for local authorities is minimal. Local businesses sponsor the prizes and in most cases municipal workers already visited the collection points to pick up rubbish.
Participating municipalities pay a small fee to KIMO Denmark to cover administrative and promotional costs. But Sandrini says that on balance, they may even save money by taking part:
“It’s often local governments who face the bill for beach cleaning, so any initiative that reduces that burden means municipal resources can be spent elsewhere.”
Not about the money
But of course, the lottery is not really about the money or the prizes, Sandrini explains:
“The nice thing about the Kystlotteriet is that visitors enjoy playing their small part to clean up the beach, and together those small actions add up to a big impact.”
In fact, KIMO Denmark estimates that scheme has already collected almost a tonne of waste from Danish beaches.
A clean beaches treasure hunt?
Ryan Metcalfe, who works for Varde municipality and helps to administer the scheme as KIMO Denmark’s national coordinator, says many visitors to Denmark have been taking part:
“We know people from around the world enjoy visiting Denmark, so we provided promotional material in English and German. But we were nevertheless surprised and happy to see so many people joining in while on their vacation.”
Sten Helberg, the creator of the original Coastal Lottery in Norway compares taking part in the lottery to the fun of a treasure hunt. He underlines the importance of raising awareness and offering people the chance to act for the environment.
The six municipalities already taking part in the Danish Kystlotteriet are , , , , and . But they hope more local governments will join them and the number of lottery points will continue to grow in the coming years.
In the meantime, locals and visitors can enjoy cleaner beaches – and, with a bit of luck, some great prizes too.
KIMO International is a network of local governments, working together for healthy seas, cleaner beaches, and thriving coastal communities. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and sign up for our email updates.