Last weekend a gang of good hearted souls travelled to Cala Mitjana to give it a spruce up. Organised by Lars Molin (who also took the photos) from Palma Yacht Crew, a 22,000 strong group on Facebook, the aim was to clear the beach of rubbish. The group were joined by Brad Robertson from Asociacion Ondine who launched the Dos Manos beach clean up program on the island last year.
The Two Hands Project (Dos Manos) was set up in Australia in 2010 by a non-profit organisation that tackles plastic pollution across the world (www.twohandsproject.org). Majorca’s Asociación Ondine worked in collaboration with them to launch in the Balearics. The Mediterranean is one of the World’s marine biodiversity hotspots, with just 0.8% of the total ocean surface but harbouring almost 10% of the world’s marine biodiversity, which is particularly affected by solid waste pollution, comprising approximately 75% of plastic. The motto of Dos Manos is ‘Take two hands and 30 minutes to clean up your world – anytime, anywhere’. We all love to enjoy our coastlines but how often do we feel a little bit of the magic is taken away by unsightly plastic waste? As well as blighting our beaches it’s affecting our marine life and ecosystems in ways that will be impossible to reverse.
Two hands (Dos Manos) embodies the spirit of the huge national/international clean up days but asks what can you do with your two hands in just thirty minutes, at a location near you, on any day of the year. Putting it simply: what you can do to care for the place(s) that are near to you or important to you, anytime that you want. They want to encourage everyone to include a 30 minute clean-up in their day to day lives. It really is easy and it’s also very satisfying to see what a difference you, your family and friends can make in such a short time with such little effort. Bring your kids, your mum, your nana and your pop and your friends. This is really about our communities banding together to make our world a better place to live in and to give our kids a greener future! Awareness and education is the key and good education is hands on experience, learning through participation and action.
86kg of pollution was collected in total from Cala Mitjana, and of that most of it was plastic. The message coming through loud and clear is please do not flush away sanitary waste, or any other plastic waste, down your toilet! One major threat to marine life is “micro plastics”. They collected close to 200 cotton buds which had made their way through the sewage systems and into the Med. If you know of anyone disposing of their cotton buds in the toilet, please explain to them, what a problem they cause to our marine life.
But it doesn’t stop there, Brad wants to get us to change our mindsets and think about our consumption of plastics. “Our goal is to promote re-usable items such as bags, drinking bottles and so many other things we simply use once and then throw away. Have a think about your daily routine and what items you could replace with re-usable ones and stop using throw away items. Water bottles, coffee cups, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and plates, unnecessary packaging from supermarkets, the list goes on and on and on and on. Of course this is not going to happen overnight, we may be dreamers here at Asociacion Ondine but we aren’t stupid! This is a huge process of changing people’s habits; yes yours and mine and everyone else that calls Majorca home. I see it all the time in my own habits (which are definitely changing for the better) as well as during my daily life. A classic example was at a local market where I buy my veggie´s and carry them in my traditional Mallorquin super cool basket. I bought a bag of potatoes that were already in a mesh bag, the guy smiled as I gave him the money and then proceeded to put the mesh bag into a plastic bag. No gracias, I don’t need a plastic bag to carry a bag, thanks! It’s the little things we do in our daily lives that create the world’s biggest problems, let’s change what we do!
“Dos Manos collection bags are re-usable, meaning we encourage people to carry them in the car, on their bike, in their back pack for that right moment when you are out and about and think to yourself…Man this beach is dirty, I’m going to take my Dos Manos and 30 minutes of my life to clean up our world! Once you have collected the rubbish you can give the bag a rinse and wash and its ready for the next Dos Manos 30 minute session, easy!
“Our third goal, which is a much longer-term goal, is to find out where all this plastic pollution is coming from and attempt to stop it at the source. This is the only real solution for the massive subject of marine pollution and a solution that will take a huge amount of work from all of us! Something that will help us with this is the branding of plastic bottles and other discarded plastic pollutants, be it for company promotions or for product identity we can retrace the path the plastic pollution took and look for positive solutions with the original owners of these ugly and everlasting pollutants.
“Part of the project includes an audit of the rubbish collected, we encourage anyone who is participating to take the time to count and ID the pollutants collected. We have a general public easy-to-use form and a scientific form, which will be used internally at Asociacion Ondine. The data we collect will be stored in our data base in the same format as the EU requires, this way we can share with government and EU bodies to assist in the bigger picture of plastic pollution right around the Mediterranean.
“Together we can make a huge difference, but we must all be involved and all have the same goals.”
We can all take action now ‘ANYTIME ANYWHERE’ to reduce plastic and make our beaches sparkle for the right reasons. Tip: don’t forget to take with you heavy duty plastic bags and gloves.
- Take 30 minutes to collect plastic waste at a beach where you are.
- Take part in one of their organised beach clean ups.
- Organise your own beach cleanup with friends, at school or within your business.
- Refuse plastic: use less single use plastic in your home and workplace.
If each of us took just 30 minutes to clean up our beaches, added together that would be a lot of time and plenty of plastic that wouldn’t be entering the sea!
Share your success
Asociacion Ondine, and the Majorca Daily Bulletin want to hear of the results of your beach clean up activities and see what plastic pollution you have removed from around Majorca, so make sure you like the Facebook Pages for Asociacion Ondine and The Majorca Daily Bulletin, then please share your ideas and stories on refusing plastic and how to end plastic pollution. You can find out more by visiting: http://www.asociacionondine.org The next beach cleanup scheduled is with The Academy.