Month: July 2015

Sal Paintball makes holidays greener

Sal beach cleanOn 12th July around 40 people came together in Sal, Cape Verde, to clean about 2km of beach. Almost 500kg of rubbish was collected, mainly plastic bottles and fishing gear (fishing nets and containers) washed up on Kite beach, on the East coast of Sal.

The most unusual items they collected were a water boiler, a gas bottle, and a pepper shaker. The most common pieces of trash were plastic bottles – around 300 of them in all, which underlines how important it is for everyone to try and reduce their single-use plastic (e.g. with re-usable bottles).

Thank you so much to all the participants and organisers, and especially to Sal Paintball and Explore CV for the lunch, drinks and activities at the end of the beach cleaning, and to the CMSal (City Hall) for supplying water, bin bags and transport. Sal beach clean Photos: Duncan Gillies, Sal Paintballers.

Getting a share of the tourist dollar

IMG_2656In 2014 we carried out research into the supply and customer demand of Cape Verdean crafts in Sal, and ran a 5 day workshop for 15 craft producers and 11 vendors with the help of craft experts Unearthed.

But what difference did our training make? Would changes to product design and pricing help the artisans to make more sales to tourists? We found out in June, at a small craft market at the Oasis Atlantico Salinas Sea Hotel.

In preparation for the event, five artisans received some extra coaching on what selection of products to bring to the fair, how to approach customers, and how to present their stalls, for example, by decorating them with traditional fabrics and palms.

Andreia Monteiro from L’Alambic, who produces a wide range of the local liquor grogue, developed recycled packaging as a result of the training. She was delighted with their sales on the day, saying:

“It was such a good day for us and since the market we’ve had a number of customers coming into our shop who said they’d seen us at the market – I wish we could do more of these hotel craft markets!”

Sotero Lopes who creates white turtle, flower and heart necklace pendants from shells has changed the thread he uses from white to black to show off the pendants more and sold almost double what we would usually expect to sell at a day at the craft market.

Djumanga, who carves large wooden statues from driftwood that appear in a few local hotel lobbies has started producing carvings in smaller sizes that tourists can pack in their suitcases. At the fair he made twice what he used to make at the beach.

In July, five more craft producers who attended the training will appear at the hotel craft market, and the General Manager has said she’d like to make it a weekly event for her European guests.

Follow up training, and technical design support for the craft producers is being planned for 2015.IMG_2660

Ocean trash is not a new problem

Guest post by Sarah Kollar, Coordinator, Trash Free Seas Program15_6_Degrees

Ocean Conservancy

We face many complex challenges when it comes to a clean and healthy ocean, but one problem is simple to understand: trash. Ocean trash –or marine debris, litter, rubbish, and all the other names we have for it –includes any manufactured item that makes it way to the marine environment, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

The topic has recently jumped to the forefront of many ocean discussions as more and more people are discovering the sheer enormity and numerous impacts of trash in marine environments. But for Ocean Conservancy and the millions of International Coastal Cleanup volunteers around the world, we’ve been tackling ocean trash for nearly three decades.

A Regular Cleanup

Every year, as part of the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean, hundreds of thousands of volunteers join forces to for one day to collect and remove debris from their local waterways and coastlines.

DSC_4909Beyond removing debris, participants also log the types and amount of trash that plague their specific area and report these data back to Ocean Conservancy. Consequently, from the great work of volunteers across the globe, we have amassed a global database on marine debris which creates better understanding and informs effective solutions.

By collecting, counting and tallying debris, it becomes apparent that ocean trash –no matter where it comes from –is not an ocean problem, but rather a people problem.

The most common items collected during cleanups are those that we use every day. Single-use disposable items, often plastics, are collected by the thousands. And over the years, volunteers have also found many peculiar items, including eight bowling balls, a plastic dinosaur toy, and a fireplace from the 2014 Cleanup.

The Cleanup also shows that we still have work to do. Marine organisms can become trapped or entangled in items like fishing line, which seriously impairs mobility and often leads to death. Furthermore, ingestion of debris has been documents in over 600 marine species including all seven species of sea turtles.

Health Hazards

The impacts do not stop in the water. We too, are greatly affected by ocean trash. Coastal communities and their economies are hindered by trash littering their beaches. Trash in the ocean is both an environmental danger and threat to our own health.

Just as the impacts of debris our numerous and far reaching, so too must be our solutions. It is the collective effort and collaboration of organizations around the world that will help us realize trash free seas. Ocean Conservancy is thrilled to work with the Travel Foundation and the Make Holidays Greener campaign to remind us all to do our part, even as we relax on holiday.

To join in the solution and learn more about our various initiatives to prevent ocean trash at the source, check out To get involved with the International Coastal Cleanup, check out Follow us on Twitter @OurOcean and find us on Facebook. Thank YOU for all that you do for a cleaner, healthier ocean for all!Print

Make Holidays Greener month starts today! If you have not already signed up to run a beach clean then please get involved!