Another year has passed and, as we do every year on the 8th of June, our team celebrated World Ocean Day. The day is dedicated to celebrate the ocean as well as raise awareness on plastic pollution and the damage it does to marine life. In celebration of the day, our Lobis cleaned the sandy beaches of Calheta together with a handful of volunteers. Together we managed to remove around 35kg of waste and although this is a lightweight outcome compared to our previous cleanups, the type of litter that was cleaned was alarming. Although non-non-recyclable plastic, that included straws, straw plastic packaging, COVID masks amongst many other things, made up one third of the collected litter, cigarette butts were by far the most abundant piece of waste.
Of all plastic pollutants, cigarette filters are by far the most damaging plastic pollutants on the planet with around two thirds of the trillions of cigarettes smoked per year being tossed into the environment. These then make their way into waterways where they leach nicotine and heavy metals before turning into micro-plastic pollution. The thing about cigarette butts is that its an easily solved problem; installing ashtrays on the beaches may remind smokers to not leave their cigarettes in the sand and continuously raising awareness on the detrimental effect of this pollutant may promote more diligence amongst smokers.
The event was part of an initiative called Ocean Week that lasted until Sunday and aimed to connect expats and locals through awareness campaigns, workshops and fun events all related to our wonderful ocean. Apart from the cleanup our team naturally celebrated the day with some lovely sightings out at sea and enjoyed great moments with Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). What better way to spend this special day than at sea with its most charismatic inhabitants!
To quote the wonderful author and fellow marine life lover Susan Casey; The ocean is my sanctuary, my workplace, my school, my home. How insanely blessed we are to have her, how imperative it is that we protect her. Happy World Ocean Day!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins