Winter storms in Sardinia are characterised by heavy rainfall and strong winds. Cyclons are becoming more frequent due to climate change. Two things happen during these storm in relation to the coastal pollution: the level of water in rivers rise, little streams and crooks turn into torrents carrying down anything that was dumped into the water or along the banks. All house-originating waste that was thrown illegally in those bodies of water ends in the sea. Then the second phenomenon takes place – carried by the sea currents and high waves, the waste is then stranded along the Sardinian coast.
We observe these phenomena every winter and with every season the amount of waste gets bigger. Apart from the domestic waste such as all types of plastic containers ( for detergents and food storage), toys, broken furniture, car tyres, glass bottles, tins and cans, debris, we also find the remains of the last summer. It includes broken beach umbrellas and beach chairs, single-use plastic cups and plates, a lot of plastic spoons (used for ice-cream) and our local favourite: the tips of beach umbrellas. Stuck in the sand and forgotten by the beach goers, they get washed up to the surface in winter.
Little is still known about the consequences of abandoning the litter in the environment. Also, some part of the rubbish, like rubber, glass and plastic could be recycled if sorted out properly and collected by the waste collection company, instead of being dumped in the sea, in the river or any place around the island, which in many cases sooner or later will find its way down to the Mediterranean Sea.
Some statistics from December 2020:
Do you think a beach clean-up could make a difference?
On October the 10th 2020, Clean Coast Sardinia organized a beach cleanup in Platamona beach, Sorso Sardinia.The Platamona beach is in the Asinara Gulf in northern Sardinia. The beach itself is narrow but extended for kilometers with golden and white sands. Clean Coast Sardinia‘s founders and volunteers, with a few others helping hands like Waste Free Ocean and supported by Thierry Neuville, a rally driver who was racing at the Italy Rally Sardinia.
One side with white sand while on the other side of the dune has mounds of trash. The facing side was clean because you might get noticed by bystanders when polluting the beach while the other side is quiet and has many trees and bushes.
It is also true that the bars and restaurants keep eye on them. It is not the trash brought by the tides, which is impossible because of the natural high back dunes. As you can see in the pictures, this waste is directly thrown by the people. They could be the tourists, locals or the young bloods doing parties around the beach. You cannot see the big trash around the bars and clubs as they clean it actively. Nevertheless, there are plastic fragments lying around which can barely be spotted by our eyes. Walking along the white sand beach makes you feel that you are in a paradise with a blue and green sea. You even see some dolphins if you are lucky enough. But it is no more a paradise when it is full of trash and rubbish.
Many volunteers from Australia, England, France, Italy, Nepal, Poland and Sardinia itself have joined the beach clean-up. There is no boundary when you are willing to contribute to the environment. Without taking any breaks and with a huge smile on and tireless eyes, they collected over 100 trash bags in a short span of time.
Fig c. & d.: Volunteers representing different countries and local communities.
The reality is,the organized beach clean-ups can only remove a fraction of the trash. But the remaining will last for hundreds of years until it is picked up. The Mediterranean Sea is just a few meters away, and it can have severe effects on birds and animals when they ingest it.
If you are reading this article, we encourage you to participate in clean-ups happening near you!
According to WWF, the amount of plastic that enters the Mediterranean water each year is 0.57 million tons which is like dumping 33,800 plastic bottles into the sea every minute. When you see trash even on the street, try to bring it in a bin. Also, there are many ways to reduce the use of plastic and manage the waste. Quit single use plastic, upcycle old stuff – with a little effort we all can contribute to minimise the negative impact on our environment and as a consequence, we make the ecosystem, which we are part of, healthier.
Platamona Beach Cleanup was the third event in the ICC 2020 Season, an initiative started by Ocean Conservancy. If you are reading this article, we encourage you to participate in clean-ups happening near you! You can also download a free app called CLEAN SWELL – if you do solo- cleanups or with small groups of friends – you can become part of the worldwide community share and help build a database.
A special thank you to Sorso municipality which helped us remove the trash from the environment, to Thierry Neuville for his support and promoting the good cause and first and foremost – to all the volunteers who participated in the event. See you soon!
Bikram Bahadur Singh
With the support received from the driver Thierry Neuville, Clean Coast Sardinia is organising a beach cleanup event on the northern coast during the Rally Italia Sardegna weekend. We are waiting for you at the Platamona beach “terza discesa” the third access – in front of the Sima’ Beach bar on Saturday, 10th October at 15.30
First fifty volunteers who come to participate in the cleanup, will receive a special edition t-shirts with our logo and Thierry’s number. We might also have a special gift – surprise for the under 18 🙂 the number is limited, though.
Thanks to Waste Free Oceans, we will supply our volunteers with waste collection bags made from RECYCLED PLASTIC. We also have pickers / grabbers for the first 30 volunteers and we are able to supply the first 60 volunteers with multi-use, technical, protective gloves. However, in case the event attracts more people, we ask you to bring your own gloves and a picker as we might run out of them.
We also ask you to bring the face mask for the safety reasons ( COVID-19 precautions), a bottle of water and wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
In case you didn’t know, this event will be our THIRD event in the ICC 2020 season, as we are local partner of Ocean Conservancy. Anyone doing solitary or small group beach and coastal cleanups in Sardinia is welcome to register the data using the Clean Swell app available for Android and iOS 🙂 This year the slogan is #cleaon – we continue our mission, despite the difficult current situation, as taking all the precautions we can both protect our health and clean our coastal areas : #teamocean #cleancoastsardinia #insiemeperlecostesarde
See you on Saturday !!!!!
If you have any questions, you can email us at email@example.com
Flumendosa River Cleanup was one of the events on the long list of river cleanups rivers on the Italian territory held in September and promoted by Cleanup Italia – the network of Italian voluntary organisations. It was also registered as International Coastal Cleanup 2020 event with our partner, Ocean Conservancy. We are also supported by our new partner – Waste Free Oceans.
Second clean up this month was organised at the estuary of Flumendosa. We have never held an event there and when we arrived there we were at owe by the beauty of this part of the coast. The river mouth is separated from the sea by a wide stripe of sandy beach stretching for kilometres. On the horizon you can see the mountains of Muravera. At first glance, this place seems unspoilt. Unfortunately, also this part of the Sardinian coast, like many similar places around the world, has been contaminated by human activity. And judging by the waste we have found, we must say that in this particular area it was mainly related to the local fishermen’ activity.
On an extremely windy day, fifteen volunteers, all of whom reached the spot after one-hour drive, rolled up their sleeves and spread around the Flumendosa mouth and along the beach to collect the waste. The beach was relatively clean, but hidden in the vegetation we found “hotspots”, full of bottles and cans, together with empty boxes of fishing bait and rolls of fishing line. Next on the list were plastic bottles. We have also found evidence of bonfires lit on the beach, with waste left aside.
The worst kind of the trash, however, were that polystyrene boxes for transporting fish. We have found tens of them, stuck in the vegetation or accumulated in an abandoned structure by the river. Exposed to the weather conditions such as wind and sun these boxes would start breaking into smaller pieces. Sooner or later these tiny pieces would end up in the sea or the river, and eaten by the fish, they would enter our food chain. And people involved in the fishing industry seem to be either unaware of this fact or ignoring it.
Flumendosa River Cleanup in numbers:
Total: Around 118 kg of WASTE removed from the environment
The surface covered: 30,590.64 m2
We have also secured and notified to the local authorities the abandoned structure that has become a site of illegal dumpsite, with fridges, pieces of furniture and tens of polystyrene boxes to follow.
A big THANK YOU to everyone! See you soon!
Clean Coast Sardinia is a local partner of an initiative called International Coastal Cleanup, launched more than 30 years ago by Ocean Conservancy. Every year on the same day coastal cleanups are held and then important data is collected. This year, however, no specific date was chosen and the cleanup events are generally organised in the autumn season. This is the third time Clean Coast Sardinia organised a cleanup in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy. Also, this year we are planning to organise more than one event for this occasion.
On 12 September , together with other local organisations and sport groups, we managed to involve around 100 volunteers including divers, mermaids and standup paddle boarders, who cleaned not only part of the beach but also the sea surface and the sea bottom around Marina Piccola harbour.
Marina Piccola is located at one of the longest beaches in Sardinia, Poetto, and it is popular with water sport and leisure enthusiasts as many centers and clubs have their base here. Just round the corner there are hidden coves, reachable only by the sea, under one of the most recognisable symbols of the gulf and Cagliari itself – Sella del Diavolo – the Devil’s saddle hill.
The result is impressive. Within two hours the volunteers collected:
TOTAL: Around HALF A TON of WASTE
We would like to thank all participants, especially Tutt’in SUP, SeaWorld Cagliari, SeaWorld Mermaids and SubACquaDive who helped us remove such a great amount of trash from the marine and coastal environment.