Families and divers join Zoomarine to clean beaches and the sea

Action also focused on the Pedra do Valado reef, which recently gained status as a Marine Natural Park

Adults, children, families, fishermen and divers came together, on the morning of this Sunday, May 19th, to fight against pollution and collect debris and fishing gear abandoned in the sea and on the sand of the beaches of Armação de Pêra, Pêra and Salgados, as part of “Operação Praia Limpa”, organized by Zoomarine.

At the same time that, on land, around 128 volunteers collected rubbish from the sand of the two beaches, the Sul Informação went to sea in one of the three vessels that transported the nine divers and the fisherman who took on the mission of removing nets and other debris from the sea that were harming and endangering the species that live in Pedra do Valado, where it was The Recife Marine Natural Park in the Algarve was recently created.

With gloves and diving suits on, the divers collected traps, nets and other fishing debris from 20 meters deep. All in favor of the protection and conservation of the largest natural reef in Portugal, a place full of life and biodiversity.

An hour later, the divers hoisted all the trash into the boat where the fisherman was, to bring him to land.

According to Miguel Rodrigues, responsible for the local Armacenense diving company Divespot, around 300 kilos of rubbish were removed from the sea.

The great fire in Monchique occurred in 2016, and it was in that year that the “Operation Green Mountain” action was born, in November, to carry out reforestation. “Montanha Verde” was the first action to be born under the “Together We Protect” philosophy. From this philosophy, “Operação Praia Limpa” was born in May 2017, the result of Zoomarine’s desire to preserve the oceans.

With the involvement of the Chambers of Silves and Albufeira, the Portuguese Navy and several associations, “Operação Praia Limpa” “was growing”, according to Sofia Bach, responsible for Zoomarine's communications department, who considers these awareness-raising projects to be “quite important” community.

The same person in charge says that it was a good time for Zoomarine to launch this action, «because there was no one in the Algarve who was organizing these beach cleaning operations».

 

clean beach operation team

 

After the launch of “Operação Praia Limpa”, beach cleaning actions multiplied, all over the Algarve.

«It's something that gives us a lot of pride and we're happy that we're not the only ones, because if there were just one of us doing this type of action, (the idea) would be lost and the idea is for this to pass on to the community», adds Sofia Bach.

Today, there are entire families volunteering and, in doing so, carrying out a “great action” in favor of nature conservation.

«There are a lot of people who end up coming, they are on a break, they bring their families, so not only employees come, but they also bring companions, children. They are invited to spend this day here with their family, which ends up being very educational too», says Isabel Gaspar, responsible for Zoomarine's conservation department, having coordinated the underwater cleaning of “Operação Praia Limpa”.

In addition to collecting rubbish, there were educational activities for volunteers to raise awareness about waste separation, climate change and the damage the environment is suffering.

«I think it is something fundamental, something that is within our genetic code, because obviously we are just one species that lives in this wonderful world that is planet Earth, but also the species that has the most impact on the environment. And so it is our moral duty, whenever possible, to collaborate with these initiatives and guide our daily lives in order to protect and conserve the environment, explains Isabel Gaspar.

This Sunday's garbage collection mission was considered a success by its promoters, but that does not mean that the work will last.

«The mission is never completely accomplished, it is partially accomplished. It is important (…) to draw attention to the need not to put more plastic, not to put more rubbish in the sea», says João Silva, responsible for BIOREF, a scientific research and marine environmental education entity based in Armação de Pêra .

BIOREF, Divespot, Europe Direct Algarve, Albufeira Promotion Agency (APAL), UALg V+, Algarvevensis Geoparque, ICNF, IPDJ, Algar, Municipality of Albufeira and Silves were the entities that took part in the action.

The University of Algarve is one of the oldest and most important partner entities, as it began to collaborate in these actions even before Zoomarine was inaugurated and to this day it has brought many students to volunteer.

 

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