EN ROUTE TO A BLUER SEA
In partnership with: OLPA (Osservatorio Ligure Pesca e Ambiente)
Liguria’s rich and biodiverse coastline is under threat from a legacy of litter. It is a crisis that is dangerous for wildlife, hazardous for humans and a risk for coastal economies. Our mission is to work together with OLPA to turn the tide on marine debris.
Liguria is not only a beautiful coastline attracting tourists for its calm, deep blue waters, it is also a rich marine environment of exceptional biodiversity. But because of inadequate waste management and disposal, the delicate eco-system and coastal economy are being put at risk.
Sea trash is not just an eyesore, it injures swimmers, entangles and harms wildlife, drives away tourists, and is a hazard to divers and ships. Coordinated action is needed to rid such an important stretch of coastline of the tons of rubbish marring its beaches and waters.
The most critical area of concern is the strip from the shore to a 50m depth. As the most popular site for bathing, non-professional diving, pleasure craft and small fishing vessels, as well as discharge point for waste dumped at sea, it is here that debris is quickly accumulating. And since many of these areas are also recognized for their contribution to biological diversity as well as the site of artificial barriers to help replenish fish stocks, they are also the most at risk from pollution. Drawing on its knowledge of these and similar dangers, our cooperation with OLPA will be instrumental in instigating a coordinated and inclusive marine litter strategy to both reduce and reverse marine pollution.
OLPA has been campaigning and working with local, regional, national and European partners for many years to draw attention to the problem of marine pollution and disruption.
This CCF-funded project will draw on OLPA’s lengthy experience to build a community-wide network in which grassroots volunteers, students, professionals, public, private and academic bodies alike, work side-by-side to map and clean up Liguria’s coastlines and seabed. Moreover, through a far-reaching information campaign and education events, the aim is to go one step further: to stop trash before it starts.
OLPA aims to inform and mobilise two different sections of society – professional stakeholders and school pupils – in order to roll out two important waste-reduction strategies: monitor & inform, reduce & remove.
In the first stage of the three-year project, the focus will be on helping the community to better understand the problem of sea debris. Both conventional channels and social media will be used to raise awareness and build a movement inspiring people to stop waste.
The contacts made with professional divers, local fishermen, tourist operators, local institutions etc. will be turned into action as their skills and experience are harnessed to monitor and map marine pollution along the Ligurian coast. Using state-of-the-art scientific equipment and experimental techniques, three months a year will be spent geo-mapping the coastline and seabed. This data will then be used in a summer clean-up coordinated from 16 info points and involving up to 1400 volunteers, on a total of 12 days in 12 different locations. In a subsequent phase, 80-100 annual education and awareness events will be held in schools. Pupils will learn about the marine environment and the impact of waste. Drawing on OLPA’s previous projects, they will also study the waste trail and be introduced to the Costa Crociere Foundation’s five-R approach as a solution to marine pollution.
Pupils will be encouraged to play an active role by adopting a strip of coast to monitor and maintain. They will then pool their data to produce a natural habitat map for the entire region, to be presented in the final stage when results will be displayed in schools, ferry terminals, in the community and online.