Aeco: Cleanup for Sarah On 16 June

On June 16, people around the world will carry out cleanup actions in their local environment. This global effort will mark the birthday of Sarah Auffret, a polar professional who dedicated many years of her life to protecting the environment, and in particular the marine environment in polar regions.

A tragic accident has inspired a global movement of local, hands-on efforts to combat plastic pollution. Sarah Auffret held a project position as AECO’s environmental agent and was responsible for AECO’s Clean Seas initiatives.

She led AECO’s efforts to drastically cut back on single-use plastics on Arctic expedition cruise vessels, as well as enhance cruise passengers’ involvement in regular beach cleanups. On Sunday March 10, 2019, she was on her way to Nairobi to talk about the Clean Seas project in connection with the UN Environment Assembly. Her Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa with no survivors.

An avid supporter of environmental issues, Sarah inspired a huge number of people to be part of the solution. Friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances from around the world have pledged to take action on June 16 and will be involved in cleanups of beaches and other areas as a way to honour Sarah.

AECO would like to encourage as many people as possible to use this date in June to rally together to clean up plastic litter in your outdoor environment, no matter if it is on a beach or anywhere else. This could be a community or individual effort, a social work event for staff, or an opportunity for cruise ship vessels to educate passengers further about how easily plastic waste ends up in the marine environment and what to do about it.

Already there are a number of planned cleanups on this date, ranging as far afield as Asia and Australia, Europe and North America. AECO would like to hear of any efforts made to reduce plastic waste in the environment on this date at AECO also encourages everyone to share their efforts on social media using the hashtag #CleanupforSarah.

Sarah joined AECO in May 2018 and was based in Tromsø, Norway.