The Rydd Norge-programmet (Clean Up Norway Program) is Norway’s first national coastal clean up program and its largest operation of this sort to date. The program was established and is managed by the Handelens Miljøfond (Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund).
For the first time, a specific national goal has been set for cleaning up plastic waste along the coastline of Norway. Through the ‘Clean Up Norway‘ program, 40 percent of the outer shores of Norway and Svalbard, as well as priority watercourses will be cleared at least once for macroplastics by the end of 2023. The program is divided into ten regional projects with each project being specifically adapted to its region. Mari Nordstøm, CMO of Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund, said:
Many argue that cleaning must take place abroad, because that is where the plastic is. Unfortunately, we are not protected from littering here in Norway. Many would probably be quite despairing to see the amounts of plastic that accumulate along our long coastline. Plastic waste in Norway must go away, and it is urgent for Norwegian nature and wildlife. That is why Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund is now working in a structured way to clean up Norway
The clean-up projects included in the program will be adapted to each county, and in total the program will be divided into 10 regional projects. Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund has started the organisation of the clean-up in each area and is the financial backbone. The actual implementation takes place in collaboration with the county governors’ environmental departments throughout the country. Mari Nordstøm explains:
The environmental departments have people with local knowledge and experience, and through them they get to utilize that knowledge both in terms of where to clean up and who is to carry out the work.
The Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund is financed through the sale of plastic carrier bags. It receives 50 øre for each plastic carrier bag Norwegians buy from the fund’s members. The 50-øre goes to support environmental projects that address the plastic problem. One of the largest projects financed by Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund is this large national clean-up program, which will complement and complement the efforts made each year in voluntary clean-up actions.
In an interview with NRK, Sveinung Rotevatn, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment said:
Norway has one of the world’s longest coastlines. In many places it is tough to get around. Clean Up Norway is a historic initiative where the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund will clear 40 percent of the outer coast, carrying forward the baton from the volunteers. Through cooperation between the government and the industry, we will be able to achieve a more systematic cleaning up of plastic in Norway.
Mayor of Arendal and chair of the KIMO Norway network, Mr Robert Cornels Nordli, welcomed the initiative saying:
The Rydd Norge program helps us very well in organising beach cleaning. There is a need for both professional and voluntary efforts. Including the County Government shows that the problem of marine litter is being handled with increased seriousness and greater urgency.
We wish the project every success and hope that other countries will follow suit.