As part of the Cleaning Sailing Race educational-ecological regatta, on April 11th 2022, more than 140 participants on 10 sailboats removed 400 kilograms of waste in four bays of the island of Solta which can only be accessed by sea, while divers in the bay Šešula pulled out 340 kilograms of marine litter.
Mattresses, car tires, medical waste, footwear and glass, and mostly various plastic items were removed as part of the Association Sunce and Biotherm big cleaning action on the island of Šolta. Plastic makes up about 80 percent of marine litter, and according to a scientific study published last year, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than fish.
– Marine litter is a recognized global problem of all countries with access to the sea and stands out as one of the three biggest threats to marine ecosystems (including overfishing and climate crisis), so it is not surprising that it is recognized by the UN, various international conventions and the EU. Marine litter is an environmental, economic and health problem, and preserving our sea sometimes seems like time race – said Gabrijela Medunić-Orlić, executive director of the Association Sunce.
– As a result of strong winds and sea currents, waste from the land ends up on beaches and the seabed, and we mostly find plastic objects, which makes this problem even more complex and serious. Plastic never disappears but decomposes into microplastics, and at the end of that process we are the people, because through the fish we eat microplastics enters our body. In a recent study, microplastics were also found in human blood. Imagine what will happen in the future if we continue to consume so much plastic – said Medunić-Orlić.
– As pollution of all types of water is becoming an increasingly recognized global problem, we need to invest in such actions, especially in Croatia, which is the second richest country in Europe in terms of drinking water. This common mission is inspired by the love of the sea and the vision of protecting our sea and the common belief that now is the time to create a better future. – said Güven Dalgiç, General Manager of the LUXE Adria Division, whose Biotherm brand has launched a campaign to preserve the waters and the Adriatic Sea as part of their Water Lovers program.
We need to be aware that occasional cleaning of marine litter from the beaches and seabed, although necessary, is not a long-term solution. By monitoring the types and origins of waste as well as the places where it accumulates, we can reduce its generation. The collected waste was listed 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, and it was disposed of by the utility company Basilija d.o.o..
– The aim of this Protocol is to obtain a single database that later serves the scientific community to be able to create recommendations on waste management for decision makers, and benefits all citizens and citizens’ associations and public authorities in implementing marine litter cleaning actions. – said Tea Kuzmičić Rosandić, project manager at the Association Sunce.
To protect our sea, the regatta was joined by Skipper & Stewardess Vodan Yachting Academy skippers and students, as well as Adriatic Sailing charter company.
– With our fleet of sailboats and catamarans, we brought the participants to the bays of Šešula, Šipovo, Stinjiva and Donja Krušica, popular destinations of tourists and locals. Truth be told, we were a little sad when we saw various garbage on the shores, but that did not discouraged but motivated us, and the result is more than obvious. – said Zlatko Vodanović, director of Adriatic Sailing Charter.
Unfortunately, marine litter is not the only thing that affects marine ecosystems. One of the challenges is nautical tourism.
Do you know that there are forests in the sea that produce 14 liters of oxygen per day, and it is estimated that 1 hectare absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide as 14 hectares of the Amazon Rainforest?
It is our seagrass, Posidonia – the lungs of the sea and the source of life that is under increasing negative pressure. Man is destroying its meadows by filling in shores, concreting, building ports and marinas, discharging wastewater, fish and shellfish farms and using certain fishing tools.
– The biggest threat to the survival of posidonia is anchoring. Boaters often anchor in posidonia, not knowing that the anchor and the anchor chain, by digging on the seabed, destroys its meadows – said Fedra Dokoza, expert associate of the Association Sunce.
– Anchor and chain belong in the sand because in addition to destroying posidonia, anchoring in it is not safe. We did not anchor safely, the ship became a danger, and we plucked about fifty specimens of this precious plant. With good anchoring and placing the ship in a safe place, where it is protected from damage, we indirectly protect the environment – said Mladen Glavić, skipper of Vodan Yachting and author of the script “No trace – responsible behavior in nautical tourism” based on which the education for skippers and employees was held just before the Cleaning Sailing Race regatta. The script also presented other problems related to nautical tourism, such as emptying black and all tanks, maintaining ships, disposing of waste, and its users were offered currently available solutions for environmentally responsible behavior.
– The sea welcomes us and our guests, after the winter break, clean enough every season. As the sea and its purity and clarity is our product, it is not difficult to conclude the direction of business if we do not give the sea enough time for self-regeneration and if we cross the line of irreversible damage to its ecosystem – said Glavic.
PIK Mornar, RC Draulik Milna, Student Association Oceanus and PŠRD Maslinica joined the underwater action. After the environmental action, we sailed to Maslinica, where lunch for participants was served in the marina in front of the Martinis Marchi castle.
In addition to employees, members and volunteers of the Sunce Association, the regatta was attended by representatives of all these partners and associates, as well as employees of the perfumery Müller and representatives of the Tourist Bord of Split.
We remind you that the Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development Sunce from Split is one of the leading organizations for nature and environmental protection in Croatia whose work makes an exceptional contribution to the protection of the nature of the Republic of Croatia and especially the Adriatic Sea, by advocating, educating and informing about environmentally responsible solutions based on professional and research work.
The climate crisis, pollution, excessive and nonselective industrial fishing and the destruction of marine habitats are the greatest threats to the seas and oceans, to which we must respond today.
– Public interest and awareness of the need to protect and preserve the Adriatic Sea is growing, and the response to such and similar activities shows that the desire for change among citizens and many participants exists. The number of members of the Association who continuously provide support in numerous activities and support the work of the Association in various ways is constantly growing. Being a member of the Sunce means being part of the story of nature and environmental protection in Croatia and the region, and only by working together can we do something good for the society we belong to – concludes the Executive Director of the Association Sunnce, Gabrijela Medunić-Orlić.