Korčula and Brač have teams to collect data on marine litter; they’ve collected more than 130 kg of waste!

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As part of the Marine litter free Dalmatian Island project, Sunce conducted educational workshops about marine litter on the islands of Brač and Korčula. Marine litter is one of the main threats to our sea and coast. This is evidenced by the amount of litter our marine litter data collection teams gathered during clean-up actions. On just a few beaches and coves, they collected over 130 kg of litter.

– It would be great to compare the results obtained on Brač and Korčula after the clean-up actions, – suggested Ana Marčić, a history and geography teacher at the Pučišća Elementary School.

You can compare the results by yourself by reading this article.

30 kilograms of litter collected in one hour

In Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, the organizations Novi otok and Miki Trasi organized a clean-up in the Zubaća Cove on April 26th for all generations. In addition to seventh-grade students from Vela Luka Elementary School, local residents also participated in the commendable action. A total of just over 30 kilograms of litter was collected.

– Before the start of the tourist season, there are occasional organized clean-ups of the sea, coves, and beaches, but all this is insufficient. Something more concrete needs to be done; for example, most of the islanders support introducing measures to ban or reduce the use of single-use plastics in schools, kindergartens and similar places, – say representatives from Novi Otok and Miki Trasi.

Thanks to the Marine Litter Monitoring Protocol and the shared goal of tracking coastal pollution, we were able to list the collected marine litter. The protocol provided insight into the composition and quantity of litter, and we noticed that after our action, Vela Luka was cleaner by 815 pieces of various marine litter. Each future clean-up action will contribute to our current knowledge of pollution levels and Sunce’s commitment to a clean sea and coast.

– Although our school is already involved in several activities aimed at raising awareness about the importance of environmental care, we are aware that participating in such actions has a positive impact on students and the entire local community. We see that students enjoy these actions but also recognize the importance of waste separation, – said Toni Šale, a biology and nature teacher at Vela Luka Elementary School.

Plastic makes up more than half of the collected marine litter, with plastic bags and their fragments being the most numerous (33%). Additionally, a significant amount of unidentified plastic pieces (29%) and styrofoam boxes and their fragments (15%) were recorded.

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98% of the collected litter is plastic!

Clean-up and data collection continued in May on the island of Brač, where Sunce, in cooperation with Pučišća Elementary School, organized two clean-up actions on May 20th. We collected more than 100 kilograms of marine litter.

– There were so many ear swabs! After cleaning the surface, a large number of swabs were found underneath, – a Pučišća Elementary School student said during the clean-up action.

Using the Protocol on one of the beaches, we found a convincing dominance of plastic (98%), with plastic bags and plastic fragments, like candy wrappers, being the most numerous (45%). Additionally, we found many ear swabs and lollipop sticks. The amount of fishing gear and equipment is also noteworthy, but it might be justified given the fact that there is a fish farm near the beach.

– I found a lot of plastic fish tags on the beach, – a student said after collecting litter on the beach.

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The fight against litter pollution continues

The goals of this project encompass a lot. Networks of local initiatives, associations, and organizations from Dalmatian islands are being developed through active involvement in the process of collecting data on marine litter and plastic pollution. Sustainable waste management and implementation of waste reduction principles on the islands are also being promoted, as well as strengthening local and national advocacy activities. Pučišća Elementary School on Brač and the organizations Novi Otok and Miki Trasi in Vela Luka now have teams for collecting data on marine litter. They continue the fight against litter pollution with continuous coastal clean-ups, monitoring the composition and quantity of found litter, and preventing pollution to further improve the quality of life in the local community.

Not only do Pučišća and Vela Luka contribute to reducing the amount of marine litter, but they also strengthen local advocacy for sustainable waste management and waste reduction principles on the islands, which we will write about in more detail in June.

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