Last year, roughly 3,500 students and volunteers came together and collected nearly a ton of waste along the beaches of Mallorca. An overwhelming amount of this waste was single-use plastics. Save the Med wants to know…when will the madness end and the healing begin?
Who They Are
Save the Med labours tirelessly to ensure our seas get the proper attention they need and deserve. With the help of volunteers, they are making the Med a better place, one piece of rubbish at a time.
This environmental association’s primary aim is to protect and regenerate the “rich biodiversity” of the seas around the Balearics. They do this by creating marine protected areas, such as Sa Dragonera, and working to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering our waters.
What They Do
Citizen-led projects sponsored by the organisation focus on collection and analysis. Currently there are two outlets, one is public beach clean-ups and the other is their student programme, Dos Manos. The waste gathered by both arms is instrumental in getting to know just how bad the problem of single use plastic litter is on the island.
Beach clean-ups are essential, though not for the reasons one may think. The collection of course ensures we all have lovely, clean beaches to enjoy, but this is secondary. Achieving social influence and raising awareness of the environmental impact of the current cultural habit of one-time usage of many items is really what is topping the agenda.
Additionally, they use the data and observations gleaned from the volunteers of the clean-up projects in targeted scientific studies. This not only provides them with crucial information, it also makes the volunteers invaluable and integral cogs in the wheel.
What They Found
From the 2019 data, Save the Med has concluded that the majority of found objects are plastics and microplastics. Microplastics come from a photodegradation process caused by sunlight which continually breaks larger pieces of plastic down into smaller fragments. These small bits cause an incredible amount of damage to sea life.
Beside plastics, items that ostensibly are thrown into toilets are increasingly washing up on beaches. Used female sanitary remains, razor blades, cotton buds and most alarmingly, “wet wipes”. Manufacturers of wipes are required to state on packaging if they are biodegradable. Many are saying they are, when in fact, they are not. This is creating havoc for the seas. It is a problem that will probably go unchecked for some time by unwitting people who think they have purchased biodegradable options.
What To Do?
Volunteering is the best way to help stop further destruction of our precious resource. Volunteers not only become part of the solution, they gain valuable knowledge and can help spread the word to those who may not be as informed.
Our sea is our livelihood on Mallorca in so many ways. Everything we do to help make it cleaner makes our lives that much better!