BlueBag initiative is an eco-tourism programme designed for residents, tourists, fishermen and boat owners aiming at volunteer cleaning of the coastline.
The BlueBag initiative started in Croatia in 2014 on the island of Krk by the association “Obala naših unuka” and Krk’s utility company “Ponikve Eko Otok Krk” and it was triggered by the burning problem of debris that enters the Adriatic Sea through river watercourses, currents from other seas and winds that bring waste from the shore or various vessels. The initiative is based on the volunteer cleaning of the coastline with the goal to collect at least one bag of debris that the sea has thrown ashore during the season. The objective of the initiative is to distribute blue bags to residents, tourists, fishermen and boat owners, and invite them to contribute to an ecological venture through the cleaning of the coastline while they are visiting the beaches and bays. The bags are distributed by local tourist boards, marinas, gas stations or they can be found on frequently visited spots on the coast. The BlueBag is designed as a motivational promotional material that encourages conscientious boat owners, and all other citizens, to behave responsibly and to do something environmentally friendly, as they can fill at least one bag with plastic debris in only five minutes and thus contribute to a cleaner environment. If every boat owner, tourist, resident or any visitor at the beach, in general, would fill just one blue bag, for sure even the sea itself would thank them.
The cost of one plastic bag with all the printing and packaging costs is around fifty euro cents, and since the initiative is based on voluntary work, this is the main and mostly the only cost of the practice.
Evidence of success
From 2014 till 2020. more than 40.000,00 BlueBags were distributed to the residents, tourists, fishermen and boat owners. The bags were filled with the debris found on the coastline and then disposed at the appropriate collection point. The initiative was recognized and implemented by numerous coastal authorities, utility and public and private companies in the Republic of Croatia by following the original idea started on the island of Krk.
Potential for learning or transfer
The BlueBag initiative has a significant potential to be implemented in every coastal community who is affected with the problem of debris waste, and is seeking to implement a practice which can be more innovative and motivating than the regular cleaning campaigns. For the potential transfer of the practice to other EU regions, few simple facts can be highlighted. First, removing the debris that the sea brings to the coastlines is not dangerous. Secondly, the cleaning process can even be fun because many items collected on the shore in imaginative hands can become interesting and original artistic creations. And thirdly, the effects of implementing the "Blue Bag" action are immediate, the cleaned beaches immediately shine with a new glow. Each participant in the "Blue Bag" campaign can publish their good work on social networks and thus encourage other people to get involved in the action. Spending five minutes to beautify the environment should not be a problem for anyone.