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EuPC nets agreement to clean up European coastal waters

By Anthony Clark
Posted 17 February 2011
The European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC) has signed an agreement with the inventor of a trawling net to help retrieve plastics marine litter. This is part of EuPC's programme to address an escalating issue that in recent years has secured prime time television coverage and extensive articles in the popular press.

Alexandre Dangis, the EuPC’s managing director, and inventor Thierry Thomazeau reached an agreement on how to promote the use of the Thomsea trawling net for use by the EU’s fishermen. “The net had originally been developed for oil spills but it can be adapted to clean up floating marine debris without harming the marine life,” said Dangis.

“Moreover, the net is totally made out of plastics. It doesn’t catch fish and is 100% recyclable, which is what we need if we want to act in a sustainable way to restore our seas. EuPC has researched the market for this equipment for more than a year and found this to be the optimal system.”

EUPC, together with its National Plastics Association members, is leading a pilot project entitled European Waste Free Oceans (EWFO) to collect floating plastics marine debris and to recycle this waste in regions where the problem is the biggest.

“Whilst marine litter is a broad societal problem with irresponsible behaviour at its root, the European plastics converting industry has decided to come forward with a practical and constructive solution at a time when few have positive ideas, only hand-wringing criticism,” said Dangis.

For his part Thierry Thomazeau, a former French fisherman, is very keen to use his invention for collecting litter and to promote the use of it in the EU for all fishermen. All sizes of fishing boats can use the net and return between 2-8 tonnes of marine debris, said Thomazeau.

Dangis hopes to secure the support of the EU Commission and the European Parliament for this project and is keen on working with any potential partner wanting to contribute to the project. The three-year pilot project, called EWFO (European Waste Free Oceans), will launch later this year.

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