Dive Report on Sal, Cape Verde

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Rating 10/10

Clean up Sal 2014

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!

07 debris 1 09 debris 3 10 debris 4 16 group photo
miroslav photo 1

Miroslav Karaicic

We found plastic to be the main debris item. From bags to bottles, fishing lines to pieces of hotel inventory. Glass is also ranked high, as plenty of bottles were found, both damaged and intact. Difficult to say from where it all comes, after all, the most garbage was found in areas without any hotels or facilities. So it is foreign debris that is polluting the waters around Cape Verde. And guess what, a similar situation you will find in any other corner of our world. We are exchanging our garbage on a high scale, and we are not doing enough to stop it.\nThe entry of waste materials from land based sources has to be monitored. Creating a collection place for debris, and accumulating it for years and years is not good enough. Garbage travels, that is a fact! Helping means that different countries have to incorporate waste management plans. If we start with such a plan today, there is hope that in the near future we may have a clean ocean again. Some positive examples have been noticed, as fishermen in various northern European countries are working together with their port authorities in removing debris. All the debris caught is brought back to the port, where from it goes to already established recycling plants (worldoceanreview.com). It is this small scale work, joined in all the countries worldwide, that will make the difference. We are here to raise this awareness. Without this, the problem will just continue to exist. And the future of such a scenario is uncertain, and not promising.

Elli Byrne

Great work with the clean-up. Always nice to see divers taking direct action in their local area!


Mike Bednarz

Nice work Miroslav & Scubacaribe team! Waste in the ocean is such a big problem and with a couple billion people though out the world increasing in wealth increasing their consumption (and consequently their refuse) it is hard to see how this is going to get better without broad international action on waste management and protection of the sea.


Rich Ward

Good stuff :)


Dawn Hadsell

Yeahhh! :) 700kg is a lot of junk!

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