Meet The Sea Sweepers

Meet the sea sweepers (you can be one of them)

Four projects to remove garbage from beaches and oceans and combat their deterioration. The ocean is gigantic. So are the figures and facts that speak of their health: there are a hundred times more garbage in the sea than half a century ago; in 2050 the waters will be more populated with plastics than with fish; 70% of seabirds have disappeared in the last 60 years; about three hundred species are threatened by pollution … Here, four projects based on solidarity, ingenuity and citizen collaboration that fight, within their means, to keep the aquatic house of millions and millions of living beings clean and healthy.

The largest submerged garbage map in the sea (and its application)

When we talk about marine debris we only see the tip of the iceberg: approximately 80% of it is submerged, stranded on the seabed and in a slow process of disintegration. They are data of Project AWARE, an organization that has been working together with divers for the care of the ocean for 25 years, and that in 2011 began to elaborate a collaborative map with waste sightings  (and its extraction) that citizens around the world reported on their website. A process, according to Domino Albert, responsible for communication, somewhat cumbersome: “The divers had to write down what they got and then, in front of the computer, to pass everything to a form”, he explains. “Every time we received more requests to create a quick tool with which to feed the map just after the dive.” That’s why they have launched Dive Against Debris App, an application aimed at divers to account in situ for what they find in the waters and fatten the map of this waste. “There is an immense amount of garbage on the seabed and there is almost no information about it,” says Albert.

The app, available on Android and iOS, allows to report the type of waste, the number of pieces (a shoe, two bottles), the coordinates of the finding and possible animals trapped in some material. “When you send the questionnaire, it goes through a process of review and quality to ensure that the information is accurate, consistent and has all the elements we need,” says Albert. The sighting will be added to the interactive world map of Project AWARE, a free-use database that locates all the garbage contributions made since 2011, the areas of immersion free from contamination and the points where entangled creatures have been found. With nearly 900,000 garbage pieces found and extracted and some 4,400 reports to date, Albert believes the enrichment of the map will become exponential with the launch of the app.

The project also has Adot a Dive Site, a recent initiative in which several diving centers, also visible on the map, send monthly information from the same area. “This will start to identify patterns and see what changes are occurring,” explains Albert. “This is important because a clean dive site in September does not have to be in August, and that makes us wonder why and want to find the causes.”

Containers that ‘hunt’ waste in the sea

The Australian Andrew Turton worked years in the world of racing. And he was always surprised by the dirt that flooded the waters of the port when he had to clean the hull of the boats. His compatriot Peter Ceglinski, in parallel, faced a paradox: he was bothered by the garbage he encountered in his surf sessions but, in turn, he himself worked in a company that contributed to the proliferation of these toxic encumbrances. “Turton asked himself a question: ‘If there are rubbish bins in the streets, why not also in the ports?'” Says Sergio Halpern, the fourth current partner Seabin, a company that has developed a device for port waters that traps waste through a simple mechanical system. The invention is causing a sensation: they have just obtained 350,000 euros from the Booking Booster program for their contribution as a startup to the promotion of sustainable tourism and will begin to commercialize the first model immediately.

A week combing the beaches and the sea

An exercise of collaboration and citizen science to preserve marine biodiversity. This is what a 1m2 proposes for beaches and seas, a series of garbage collection campaigns promoted by SEO / Birdlife and Ecoembes that will take place between September 29 and October 8 in 47 points of 22 coastal provinces of the Peninsula. They will involve at least 1,200 people, all with the will to alleviate the intoxication of the environment, a threat that by 2050 will endanger 99% of birds. “There is very little waste data on the beaches and their waters,” said Sara Güemes, coordinator of the project, of the approximately 3,200 sandy areas that exist. “And in order to be able to carry out precise awareness actions, we need to know where the source of our ills is, so to speak.” In order to accumulate the maximum possible information, volunteers will use the MARNOBA Platform app, an association dedicated to the characterization of marine waste, to register with method what they are collecting. Then the information will be integrated into the database of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment. “So we can start to establish some criteria and define precisely the problems of each environment,” says Güemes, which indicates that this action, encompassed in the LIBERA Project, will soon be replicated in other specific ecosystems.

To the call, open until the next day 22, have been signed, for the moment, 56 groups, including universities (Vigo and Valencia), green associations such as Terramar and Ecovigilantes, sports as the Spanish Federation of Underwater Activities and neighborhood groups.

The bracelet that is worth half a kilo of waste less

A bracelet made of recycled plastic and glass bottles with the power to take away a pound of garbage from the ocean. It is one of the most recent and popular actions of 4Ocean, an initiative for the cleaning of the waters born of Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper, two surfers who shared the passion for the sea and who began to organize small cleanings in the Florida area ( United States) at the beginning of the year. So far they have done well: 4Ocean has removed some 40 tons of waste in seas and beaches in the United States, has promoted cleanups in the waters of the Bahamas, Haiti and the Philippines and already has 34 workers on staff.

4 Ocean, in addition, has at its service seven full-time captains who go out every day to collect plastics with their boats, according to their co-founder Alex Schulze in a recent interview on a local television. The organization has explained that it is now working on the recovery of the area after the passage of Hurricane Irma. Her bracelet, which costs 20 dollars and can be ordered online, has already received about 10,000 reviews. 4Ocean has just launched a limited edition of the product, called Shark Conservation Bracelet, which allocates 10% of its price to the protection of sharks. For more information you can visit our website

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