In March 2021 around 100 volunteers gathered to clean one of the most beautiful spots of the Sardinian coast, Mari Pintau, collecting half a ton of waste.
Mari Pintau (Mare Dipinto in Italian), in the local language means “the painted sea” and refers to the amazing colour of this gem of the Sardinian coast in the municipality of Quartu Sant’Elena, in the province of Cagliari. I once asked a friend from the USA to help me define it in English. She came up with robin blue, which perfectly describes its unusual shade.
On March 7, volunteers arriving from all the neighbouring towns and villages joined the forces to clean this beautiful spot. The beach seemed relatively clean but when we spread along the hill covered with thick Mediterranean bush, we soon discovered all types of waste stuck in the vegetation and buried deep in the sand. Some of it must have been there for decades. The source of the waste also varied, from the common “summer season leftovers” like plastic bottles, plastic cutlery and cups, food wrappers and flip-flops abandoned on the spot, to the waste that must have been blown up from the fishing ships (i.e. EPS cooler boxes) and carried by the wind to end up in the middle of the juniper bush, about 30 meters above the sea level.
In two hours 97 volunteers of all ages collected 560 kg of waste from the area of about 33000 square meters. This included 80 kg of plastic, 260 kg of glass ( beer and wine bottles), 200 kg of unsorted waste ( i.e. garment, shoes and deckchairs) and 20 kg of metal scrape. 55 bags were filled and carried away to the local waste collection company.
Special thanks to Marina Makova, Juliana Amato, Marco Murgioni and other volunteers for the beautiful photos of the event.
Watch the video made during the event on our YouTube channel!
A part of our mission is organising beach clean-ups in collaboration with local schools in order to educate the new generations about the importance of environment conservation and the problem of plastic pollution along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea.
On March 12, 2021 we organised a cleanup at the local beach – Poetto, Cagliari, for students of one of the classes of Instituto Comprensivo Statale Cristoforo Colombo
A group of 15 students together with two teachers and four CCS volunteers spend two hours cleaning a part of one of the longest and most popular beaches in Sardinia – Poetto. The result: 7 big bags full of plastic waste, 1 bag of unsorted waaste and 4 kg of aluminium cans and glass bottles. A total of 12 kg of waste removed.
We helped them to identify, collect and sort outthe rubbish making them aware of the sources and types of marine pollution and the potential risks for the ecosystem and human health.
As we were cleaning the beach, we were approached by our friend and world-famous record-breaking surfer, Francisco Porcella.
We hope that this is only a beginning of a series of educational events dedicated to the youngest inhabitants of our beautiful and precious island.
Anche in tempi di Covid non si fermano le nostre iniziative di pulizia e sensibilità ambientale!
Il limite della zona arancione in Sardegna di queste ultime settimane e il divieto di assembramento hanno comportato però delle modifiche alle nostre azioni che si stanno concentrando prevalentemente lungo il litorale del comune di Quartu Sant’Elena (sud Sardegna) dove la nostra associazione ha sede, grazie anche alla collaborazione del Comune nella parte che riguarda la raccolta finale dei rifiuti.
Con cadenza settimanale alcuni di noi, insieme ad altre associazioni cittadine, si stanno incontrando in luoghi prestabiliti grazie a segnalazioni di cittadini attivi, per quelle che abbiamo chiamato semplici “passeggiate ecologiche”. Ed è ciò che è accaduto anche sabato, il 6 febbraio insieme a Cittadinanza Attiva, l’Associazione Rinascita e Cittadini Uniti.
Zona di incontro Via Tirreno, proprio di fronte la mare. Presenti circa 15 persone appartenenti a vari gruppi, alcune nuove, come sempre molte donne, circa la metà non sarde (anche tre tedeschi tra noi), ma tutte entusiaste!
Dopo aver distribuito le buste, i guanti e dato istruzioni del caso, anche anti covid, si parte alle 15.00 per la passeggiata lungo la costa divisi in due gruppi che si sono mossi verso i lati opposti della costa.
La spiaggia sorprendentemente era abbastanza pulita, ma con presenza di microplastica e qualche rifiuto proveniente dalle mareggiate di questi giorni. Il terreno antistante la spiaggia invece, come sempre, non si presentava altrettanto pulito, e questa volta la colpa non era delle mareggiate. Molte bottiglie di vetro, sempre la solita immancabile plastica e cumuli di rifiuti indifferenziati abbandonati lungo le cunette, tra cui molto metallo arrugginito ed anche rifiuti da manutenzione di macchine.
Alla fine in due ore questi sono stati i risultati della nostra raccolta:
prontamente ritirati dal servizio di igiene pubblica del Comune di Quartu. Alle prossime passeggiate, col solito entusiasmo, sperando prima o poi di tornare tutti a casa a mani vuote!
Limited by the anti-Covid-19 restrictions, we kept on organising small, local groups of volunteers, often consisting of families or groups of friends, who take part in so-called “eco-walks”. Observing all the anti-contamination rules ( masks, gloves, keeping distance) we managed to run 4 small events during the first month of 2021, collecting about 1200 KG OF WASTE and involving 80 volunteers!
The main source of the waste collected in January continues to be the FLY dumping of FLY tipping ( illegal abandoning of house-originating waste in the open, interesting study related to Italy’s fly tipping problem can be found here). The usual suspects are: big black bags full of unsorted rubbish, debris from the house redecoration (shower base, toilet, bags full of old tiles), clothes, car seats for children, broken buggies and furniture.
We also continue finding waste linked to the past beach season like flippers, single-use plastic plates and cups (reduced to tiny pieces), plastic bottles, ice-cream and ice-drink cups, beach equipment like chairs, beach umbrellas.
Our efforts last month were significantly reinforced by local voluntary groups, like the “active citizens” group from Quartu Sant’Elena. The residents of this coastal town ( now the third town in Sardinia when it comes to the size of the population) regularly participate in the efforts to clean-up the coast, which in this municipality stretches out for 26 kilometres.
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: