Between September 16 and 24 several cleanup initiatives will take place along the region’s coast.
For the fifth consecutive year, thousands of volunteers are mobilising in favour of the ocean. Between September 16 and 24, terrestrial and underwater cleaning actions will be carried out on beaches from the north to the south of the country, as well as in the Azores and Madeira, to raise awareness of marine litter.
The Oceano Azul Foundation, with the support of the European Commission and European Parliament, within the scope of the #EUBeachCleanUp initiative, once again encourages all national organisations to promote cleaning actions and civil society to participate in this global initiative with local impact.
On the first day of the initiative, September 16, there are land cleaning activities in Apoio Piscatório do Parchal (Lagoa), Praia da Rocha (Portimão), Praia de Faro, Praia de Odeceixe (Aljezur), Praia do Arraial (Tavira), Praia do Camilo, Praia do Pedro Zé (Olhão), Praia Interior de Alvor and its jetty, Ria Formosa (Olhão) and Salinas de Olhão.
For Flávia Silva, project manager at the Oceano Azul Foundation, “The involvement of the European Commission and the European Parliament is yet another recognition of the success of International Coastal Cleanup Day and its relevance and impact for a cleaner ocean. The support of these entities is a huge contribution to raising civil society’s attention to the protection of the ocean and to highlighting the work of all organisations involved in this cause”.
Sofia Moreira de Sousa, the European Commission representative in Portugal, says that “participation in coastal cleaning actions is one of the answers to the often-repeated question: But what can I do? Because by acting locally, we are having a global impact. And above all, because we are not alone. We all count. Individually, each one of us can make a difference and raise awareness for others to do so. Together, we have the power to transform the planet and be part of the change”.
An opinion corroborated by Pedro Valente da Silva, head of office at the European Parliament in Portugal. “Portugal is the western gateway to Europe by sea. Protecting the environment of our seafront means not only respecting the natural landscape of our country but also that of the European Union as a whole. We need to act before we are required to react, and the time to do so is now. How? United, as advocated by the EU, because only then can we really make a difference”, he says.
As has become customary, students and teachers from the “Educate for a Blue Generation” programme also participate in activities across the country this week, thus reinforcing students’ contact with the ocean outside the classroom.
Marine litter represents a serious threat to biodiversity, human health and the economy. Around 80 per cent of the trash found in marine ecosystems originates from human activities on land, and only approximately 20 per cent comes from activities directly linked to the sea. Cleaning and monitoring litter on beaches are fundamental to raising awareness among the population about the scale of this problem.
Registration is still open for organisations that wish to join the initiative through the Oceano Azul Foundation website, where information on cleaning activities and their location is also available.