Večernjak’s great environmental project “Resolution Earth” gathered more than five thousand people over the weekend to clean up at 30 different locations across Croatia as part of Earth Day. The locations were dispersed from Vukovar, Osijek, Vinkovci, Križevac, Zagreb and Koprivnica to Istria, the Adriatic islands and cities to Gorski Kotar and Knin. But the project goes on, so the Association Sunce, which gladly joined the project, held a clean-up and monitoring operation at the mouth of the Neretva River on April 26th.
On a 200-meters long beach near the Neretva River mouth, 6 women have removed 100 kilograms of waste. They found a window, armchair, various shoes, agricultural tarpaulins, diapers, wood, building materials and, for the most part, plastic items.
– I tried to pull out one bag and it fell apart into a thousand pieces that could not be picked up. I really don’t understand what encourages people to throw litter in the nature. – disappointed said Angela, an ESS volunteer from North Macedonia.
– By cleaning up even just one small area, we are one step closer to saving the Earth from litter in our environment. – emphasizes Fedra Dokoza, an expert associate of Sunce.
In addition to the employees of Sunce, the action was joined by volunteers of the European Solidarity Corps and the Public Institution for Management of Protected Natural Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. They made monitoring of the collected waste on the 100-meters long area according to the Protocol for organizing clean-up actions in the marine environment and coastal area on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, the collection and processing of data of marine litter.
– We responded to the call to action because we want to clean the seashore from the waste that the Neretva River brings out every day, and we want to be familiar with the types and source of waste. Interestingly, when sorting out waste, unlike during the monitoring of 2018, this time there were no large amounts of cotton swabs and straws. –” said Ana Tutavac from the Public Institution.
Monitoring is, simply put, a continuous collection of data on the quantity and type of waste collected through cleaning operations. Although the issue of marine litter in the Croatian part of the Adriatic has been around for a long time, knowledge about the quantity and type of waste is still quite insufficient, which is why the Association Sunce tries to carry out monitoring in the same locations every year.
– The idea was to clean the same beach on the river mouth as the previous time, but upon arrival we saw that it was recently cleaned, probably by the owner of the beach facility. We commend any effort to remove marine litter, but we have lost valuable data as a result. Unfortunately, we had no problem finding an uncleaned part of the beach in the immediate vicinity. –– says Tea Kuzmičić Rosandić, project manager at the association.
Most of the existing data on marine litter comes from scattered cleaning actions by NGOs, diving clubs, local self-government units in local cleaning actions, where again we do not receive enough relevant information. Most often, the data obtained is on the total amount of waste collected or the amounts of waste collected according to the type of material, without further classification of the types of items. –– Ms. Kuzmičić Rosandić explained.
ESS volunteer Olena from Ukraine also took part in clean-up operations in her hometown of Kosiv.
– We never did monitoring in my city, so I didn’t even know how important and interesting it was to carry out monitoring, which is why I will definitely suggest a simplified form of monitoring to the people in my city. – says Olena.
The Simplified Protocol is intended for all natural and legal persons and public authorities who intend to carry out or finance the implementation of actions to clean up waste from the sea. In Sunce they invite everyone to use it, and it can be found on Sunce’s website – LINK.
As part of the Resolution Earth, in addition to the Neretva, the Association will carry out waste monitoring at several other locations in Croatia, including Omiš and the island of Vis.