The World Clean-up Month, Tags and Raising Awareness

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September was the World Coastal Clean-Up month, and therefore, once again Futurismo took advantage of this special date to promote social responsibility and environmental awareness.  On the 19th of September, the World Coastal Clean-Up Day, 20 volunteers, including Futurismo’s workers and their families, locals and tourists, participated in a coastal clean-up in Mosteiros, São Miguel island. 

Three areas were surveyed: the local beach, the pebble coast and cliff area, and the local picnic area. On the first one, the most commonly found items were fishing gear (from fishing lines to buoys of nets), cigarette butts, lids of plastic bottles and many small pieces of plastic. On the second one, once again a lot of fishing gear was found, but also bigger plastic items such as barrels, plastic bottles, and even shoe soles. On the third one, a big quantity of small broken pieces of plastic, cigarette butts and bottle caps were collected. A total of 122kg of waste! 

The remote Azorean archipelago is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, at the northern edge of the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre and within the influence of the northern North Atlantic Current and the southern Azores Current, two branches of the Gulf Stream. This makes it prone to get marine debris that has been floating on the surface of the ocean for miles and miles. An example of this, are the tags that Futurismo is finding in its clean-ups from the Lobster fisheries in Maine, USA.

Our oceans are polluted with a wide variety of litter, and these are just some of the most common that Futurismo’s team finds at their periodic coastal clean-ups. By collaborating with the project Life IP Azores Natura, which aims to implement the regional Prioritized Framework Programme for Natura 2000, Futurismo is contributing to the collection of data about the marine waste found around São Miguel island. 

All the data collected helps to better understand: (1) the most common types of debris present in our coasts, (2) where does it come from, and (3) what mitigation measures need to be taken to not only prevent that more litter enters our oceans but also to reduce the significant adverse impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity. 

Futurismo has been working alongside local, national and international entities such  as EMSEALife IP Azores NaturaOceano Azul FoundationColégio do Castanheiro, and the local government. Likewise, the team has been developing different activities such as presentations for the local communities, projects with local schools, beach clean-ups and other events. This important work aims to raise awareness, promote a change of habits in nowadays society and, consequently, social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Story by Mafalda Navas and Georgina Cabayol, Futurismo

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