My Sea initiative reveals cleanest and dirtiest beaches in Latvia

The most polluted beach in Latvia is by the coast of Liepāja, but the stretch from Kolka to Jaunķemeri is the cleanest. This was discovered during the My Sea initiative, in which some 38 beaches of the coastline were surveyed, from Nida near Kaliningrad to Ainaži by the Estonian border, reported Jānis Ulme, the head of the Foundation for Environmental Education.

The participants in the expedition found myriads of plastic bags, bottles, cigarette butts, ropes from fishing boats, as well as household electronics and other pollutants. Some of the filled trash bags will be sent to the Environment Minister Kaspars Gerhards (National Alliance) as a reminder about the garbage the Baltic Sea coast has to see each day.

The dirtiest beaches according to the My Sea initiative were Tūja, Daugavgrīva (in Riga), the Latvian-Lithuanian border, Saulkrasti and Užava.

"This year is interesting in that the initiative was lead in June when there is no tourism. However, the results don't show the beaches to be particularly clean, because there are, on the average, 152 pieces of trash for every 100 meters of coast. Up to 60% of these pieces is plastic," said Ulme.

He also lamented Latvia's back-out of the mandatory deposit system for bottled drinks, which was dropped in favor of developing separated waste sorting, "[...] because of [the data shown by] international research and suggestions, and because of the things we see in the beaches of Latvia. A deposit system is an instrument would reduce coastal waste by at least a third," said Ulme. 

The second control instrument that isn't used is a more effective natural resource tax, especially for single-use plastic and polymer materials.

The top 10 dirtiest beaches - name of the beach on the left, pieces of trash/100m on the right. 

The top 10 cleanest beaches - name of the beach on the left, pieces of trash/100m on the right. 

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