clean coasts, sea beds and bet on a green recovery of the economy
Imagine for a moment a world without waste, where each and every one of the containers is collected and recycled after use; even if one accidentally falls into nature, it degrades without causing any harm. Today that world seems far away due to the huge amount of waste that pollutes our seas and oceans, but it is possible.
Think so Coca-Cola Spain, which in 2018 launched its ambitious project Circular Seas to clean coasts, protected areas and sea beds of waste, raise awareness about recycling and promote the circular economy. An alliances project that allows Coca-Cola to advance its global plan A World without Waste to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the cans and bottles that it commercializes, and that has as partners the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Chelonia Association, the Ecomar Foundation, the Zero Waste Association and the League for a Protecção da Natureza.
Increasing marine pollution is one of the great environmental challenges we face, which is why the first objective of Circular Seas is to remove waste from beaches, coasts, protected areas and sea beds.
In 2019, with the help of 11,660 volunteers and the work of the Ecomar Foundation, the Chelonia Association and the League for a Protecção da Natureza, among other collaborating entities, 100 beaches and other aquatic environments in Spain and Portugal were cleaned. In addition, it contributed to the conservation of 21 marine reserves and other protected areas in both countries.
This year, due to the social distancing that it imposes the coronavirus, thousands of volunteers have not been able to carry out the planned 80 cleaning of beaches and other aquatic environments, however, all work will resume as soon as possible, as well as the intervention in 21 marine reserves and other protected spaces.
That is why, in this area, the deadline for achieving the objectives of the third edition of Circular Seas until the end of 2021. The cleanings that are being carried out are those of the seabed. The almost one hundred fishing boats from 14 ports in Spain and Portugal who collaborate with Circular Seas they continue to fish, being able to catch all kinds of waste in their nets, which are then classified by the Zero Waste Association after arriving at the port.
The important thing: raise awareness about the importance of recycling
Collecting waste is perhaps the most visible part of the project, but this effort would end up being useless if it were not possible to generate a culture of recycling that prevents waste from ending up on our beaches and seas.
For this purpose, every summer Circular Seas It holds recycling and circular economy workshops on the busiest beaches in Spain and Portugal, as well as talks on the importance of caring for the environment in schools, town halls and Coca-Cola Spain factories. In 2019, more than 30,000 children, youth and adults participated in these awareness activities.
This year has been a bit different; Due to the current situation, the formations have become online workshops, which, on the other hand, is allowing to reach more people.
Looking to the future: boosting the circular economy
Rushed the urgent and the important, the third line of action of Circular Seas is he boost of circular economy. As in previous campaigns, in 2020 the collected waste will be classified for later recovery.
In the case of PET plastic, Coca-Cola Spain will reintegrate it into its value chain or use it for research projects. In fact, some of this plastic has been used, for example, to create the first food-grade bottle made from recycled plastic from marine litter.
In addition, in order to improve knowledge about the problem of marine litter, data collection is maintained to make it available to researchers. In this sense, despite the exceptional situation we are experiencing, so far this year they have managed to carry out 174 beach monitoring and other aquatic environments in Spain and Portugal, 109% of the planned target of 160.
Betting on a green recovery of the economy, today more than ever
These monitoring allow data to be extracted to carry out scientific studies, as they are carried out following standardized methodologies and the information is available in public databases. In addition, the data collected will be incorporated into the Annual Reports on the Collection of Marine Garbage in Beaches of the Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITECO).
Complementarily, each edition supports three new scientific studies and a business initiative that provides solutions to the challenge of marine litter. It is something that is done through Circular Seas Contest, with the collaboration of the Chelonia Association.
Thus, although redefined by the coronavirus, Circular Seas I don’t know stop. And it is that, today more than ever, it takes on special relevance, because if something is making this pandemic clear to us, it is the need to bet on a green recovery of the economy that protects the health of the planet, inextricably linked to ours.