Beginning of June marked two important conservation days: 1. The World Environment Day and 2. The World Ocean Day. Numerous events have been organized around the world to raise awareness for our environment. The sad truth is that all this efforts don’t seem to be enough, as the problem is growing. One big issue is the ocean debris problem. Enormous chunks of garbage are floating in all our oceans collecting more and more debris via ocean currents, winds and continental sewage systems. Even if we would start today collecting and recycling all that amount of waste material, it would take years, even decades to clean the oceans. Unfortunately, the problem is not being addressed properly. One way of helping would be if every community, as small as it may be, would do its part in adequate garbage disposal and recycle use.
The Cape Verde Islands are not a main debris producer. Studies show that 400 000 kg of debris is left daily on all the Cape Verde Islands (Ferreira, SEBRAE, 2012), that is 0.8 kg per citizen. Of course, a huge part of this is tribute to the tourism industry, over 400 000 tourist arrivals have been counted already during 2012, and the number is growing (data.worldbank.org). Yet, Cape Verde does not have a working garbage recycle plant. Most of the debris is still burned or buried, that is how far environmental awareness is reaching us.
Scubacaribe and SOS Tortugas have made the effort and cleaned the beach and ocean during June. Dive sites Ponta Preta and Jardim, just in front of the Riu Funana hotel, have been attended. Our colleagues from the SOS Tortugas have done a great job on Serra Negra, the south eastern beach of Sal. Over 700 kg of debris have been collected there in one single day. And that is after the cleaning was done during May and April as well. The beach on the south western side Ponta Preta are much better maintained, thanks to the daily attendance of the hotel staff. Only 30 kg of debris was found there by our divers. That is good news!
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