MASK, SOCIAL DISTANCING, GLOVES, TRASH BAGS AND SEAY, SEA SHEPHERD AND PLASTIC FREE TEAMS WORKING TOGETHER FOR THREE HOURS TO COLLECT AS MUCH MATERIAL AS POSSIBLE FROM THE BEACH. ALL THIS WAS THE BEACH CLEAN UP IN MARINA DI PORTO CALERI.
17th October, 2020 • Marina di Porto Caleri (RO)
Statistical data are never able to fully convey the feelings you face in front of what you can find in any beach bathed by the Mediterranean.
What does the statistic say?
The Mediterranean Sea is now a plastic landfill, over 600 debris accumulates on the beaches every hundred meters. According to a study by WWF, the almost closed basin of the Mediterranean causes 80% of plastic waste to return to the coasts, with the result that for every kilometer of coastline, more than 5 kg of debris is accumulated per day.
5 kg per day every kilometer!
What do your head and heart say when you kneel on a beach?
We are fucked!
But then it happens that you make a few phone calls and team-up with some other people and then it can happen to gather on a Saturday morning of sun and flat sea a hundred people who have arrived from more than 100 km away. Mask, social distancing, gloves, trash bags and SEAY, Sea Shepherd and Plastic Free teams working together for three hours to collect as much material as possible from the beach.
The beach of Porto Caleri is located south of Rosolina Mare, it can be reached by walking through a magnificent pine forest, then ponds, then again a stretch of sand dunes rich in Mediterranean scrub and home of the Fratino (one of the smallest nesting birds in Italy ). The beach is completely wild and it is in winter that it gives its best. From the moment you leave the parking lot and enter the pine forest, the silence is almost deafening. A 5-minute walk takes you to the ponds area with its walkways from where the gaze can sweep over the surrounding nature.
But let’s get back to the statistics. Just look down at your feet to realize the damage caused by human activity. Predominant among the different types of waste we can list the plastic, which accounts for 80% of the total waste found in these areas. Followed by glass and ceramics (10%), metal (3%), paper and cardboard (2%), rubber materials (2%), worked wood (1%). The remaining 2% is made up of other materials. Among the artificial polymers, fragments of plastic and polystyrene prevail, with dimensions ranging from 2.5 to 50 cm.
From WWF we know, for example, that about 30,000 plastic bottles end up in the Mediterranean Sea every day. A report by the European Commission, of 2017, quantifies the plastic microparticles floating in the Mediterranean at 250 billion that eventually get deposited along our beaches. According to the report, it is evident that it is the plastic that has the highest harmful impact on the marine environment, involving marine fauna which has only a 20% chance of being saved when trapped.
The mare nostrum has only 1% of the world’s waters, but it contains 7% of marine microplastics. SBEM!
Despite the impressive data and the equally impressive amount of microplastics – almost impossible to collect – , we were positively surprised by the active participation not only of so many volunteers but also of the municipal administration of Rosolina who made available for the day the Deputy Mayor, the Environment Councilor, the Protezione Civile team, many trash bags and a pick-up to remove what was recovered from the beach.
And here are the statistics we like to read:
- 100 trash bags filled with debris and mix waste materials
- 7 polystyrene boxes
- 6 floats
- 3 supports for signage
- 2 tires
- 1 drum of Mobil fuel
- 1 metal sign
- 1 corrugated conduit
.. all removed from the beach. At least until the next storm.
Today other 5 kg of plastic every kilometer have returned to damage the beautiful beach of Marina di Porto Caleri and so any other stretch of beach in the Mediterranean.