The numbers are depressing: Eight million tons of garbage end up in the oceans every year. 80 percent of it gets there via the rivers, 20 percent comes from ships that dump their garbage illegally into the sea.
There are currently five large (plastic) garbage patches in the world's oceans. The largest of these between Hawaii and California is five times the size of Germany. Micro-plastic ends up in the stomachs of fish and thus enters the food chain. Wilhelm Kohlmann from the organization "MainCleanUp" recently named all these frightening facts in Knetzgau (Haßberge district) at the start of the campaign "Main Main must be clean".
Who is behind the main action?
Kohlmann worked in the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Economic Affairs before, after retiring in 2018, he cleaned the Rhine in his hometown of Mainz with a garbage grab in his hand for the first time. He joined the "RhineCleanUp" organization and, together with his employees, has organized cleaning campaigns on the Rhine, Ruhr, Moselle, Lahn, Lower Main and other rivers in recent years - from the source to the mouth.
Kohlmann wants to achieve a change in awareness among the population with the actions. The organization is largely financed by a main sponsor, the "Deutsche Postcode Lotterie". In 2021, more than 40,000 people collected more than 300 tons of garbage from 13 rivers, Kohlmann proudly reports. His organization received the Green Award in the Community category as the most popular environmental organization.
This year, in addition to the Danube and Spree, the focus of the organization will also be on the Main. Saturday, September 10th was set as the day of action. The organizers of RhineCleanUp and the Main network emphasize that they do not want to be a competing event for existing cleaning campaigns, but want to offer an additional offer. Because one thing is certain: "There is enough garbage."