Some friends of mine, namely Gaia Almeria, in conjunction with ASVOAL & CAMP Levante organised a beach clean yesterday in Almería. The purpose is two-fold really, to simply clean the beach of rubbish people have left or that has been washed up and to raise awareness of issues arising from rubbish and pollution generally.
So the day started with setting up the stalls with the information, flyers of various collaborators, planning the events and structure of the activities. We then split into a few groups and I went off with the photo safari group. I’ve never done anything like this before and it was an education for me to see the reactions of people on the beach who would watch what we were doing and even occasionally help us… some clearly weren’t pleased to see us!
So armed with flyers, beach ashtrays, plastic bags, gloves and cameras, we set off on our way. The beach ashtrays were well cool, never seen anything like it before.
The rubbish isn’t necessarily local, though much of it is and can sometimes come from as far as Morocco. The Atlantic gulf stream normally prevents the currents from the Mediterranean flowing past Gibraltar therefore the current moves in a circular motion and any rubbish that’s thrown in the sea anywhere along the coat of north Africa, southern Europe, etc… can end up on any of the beaches. I think I’ve explained that correctly! So whilst one place does their part in keeping things clean, it really needs the participation of everybody – now there’s a challenge!
Well as you know from previous posts, we do sometimes get jellyfish along the coast. Jellyfish are the natural food for the turtles that also live here, I think they are loggerhead turtles but not entirely sure. The turtles are actually in decline and one of the reasons is that they eat the plastic bags that are thrown in the sea thinking they are jellyfish, which eventually kills them. There are a number of organisations that provide educational services to schools and to activities such as this to try to encourage people to think more about their actions. Gaia Almeria & Asociación Posidonia are two organisations that I know of involved in such activities, both of whom were collaborating yesterday.
In the water it is difficult to tell and even I have been known to flee from a plastic bag thinking that it was a jellyfish 🙂
Further along the beach, we spotted a group of children studying an octopus they had caught and kept in a bucket. One of the members of Gaia Almeria had a little talk with them and explained that it is fair enough being curious and wanting to know about octopus but that they don’t like being kept in buckets. She was polite to them and after while, the children happily returned the poor creature to its home.
What I found saddest of all is the number of discarded bottles and drinks cans given that there ARE rubbish bins placed at regular intervals and if the bins are full, how much effort is it to take a couple of bottles away? I couldn’t resist taking an “arty” photo of some broken glass though!
The day was rounded off with a brilliant educational session for the children (and some adults) illustrating the issues of leaving rubbish on the beach and generally an education on what types of flora and fauna are along the Almerían coastline (in and out of the water). The children were captivated and reacted well to this and hopefully will learn if not now, in time to be a bit more considerate to the environment.
All in all, a very interesting day and good opportunities to practice talking Spanish. I would definitely do it again as I found it to be rewarding. Who fancies coming next time?
A great big huge thank you to the following:
Gaia Almeria – for arranging for me to collaborate and making me feel so welcome (estamos en contacto ahora :-))
Oz Nature & Wildlife – it’s because of Jesus Contreras that I have met and become in contact with so many of these fantastic organisations and people involved.