The Clean Coast Sardinia Project came into existence during one of the walks along the sea on the Poetto beach – around 11 kilometres of sand stretching between Cagliari and Quartu Sant’Elena.
I had my camera ready to take some photos of the amazing colours of the water under the sky full of clouds. I have been capturing the beauty of this island and posting the photos on Instagram and to my blogs, but on that day, in early May, I was taking pictures of the Poetto beach covered in debris. Plastic containers, crates, shoes… There was more of it than usual and I was wondering where it all had come from. That week was a week of heavy rains in Sardinia and all this rubbish must have been first carried down to the sea by the overflowing streams and rivers and then with southern winds and high waves brought back to the shore.
So it is not just what we leave on the beach that contaminates the water. The rubbish we leave in the forests, abandon next to the roads, throw into the rivers… sooner or later will end up in one place – in our seas and oceans.
That day I posted these pictures on my profile, next to the postcard-like pictures of Sardinia, angry and disillusioned. This island is a paradise. Its environment, like anywhere else in this world, needs to be respected and protected. Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to spend their holidays here, a big part of the island’s population makes a living thanks to this, we all depend on the natural resources here, on the uncontaminated fresh water, its fields and pastures, unspoilt beaches and clean seas with healthy fish and other creatures. Yet it is us, the locals and tourists, who keep polluting it.
Taking a picture and posting a comment was not enough. ‘What can I do?’ I asked myself. I was standing there, overwhelmed by a mixture of anger, sadness and helplessness, when I spotted a family of foreign tourists picking the rubbish from the beach.
‘I could do the same,’ I thought. But can one or two people picking the litter from the beach make a difference? Probably not. But if that mother with her children strolling on the Poetto beach with a bucket full of rubbish could influence me, maybe I could influence others. The idea of Clean Coast Sardinia was born on that cloudy day.