beach clean

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.

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!

Beach cleans are for life, not just July!

Uga Escapes in Sri Lanka and Kuoni teamed up to run a beach clean as part of Make Holidays Greener’s Big Beach Clean campaign at their Uga Jungle Beach property. Having taken part in the campaign, the general manager of Uga Jungle Beach, Mr V.A. Sivapriyan wants to continue to run regular beach cleans throughout the year to keep the beach environment as clean as possible.

Below, we hear from staff at Kuoni UK and the hotel…

Jemma Purvis, PR Kuoni UK     

slide0010_image011“When the Travel Foundation contacted Kuoni UK about their latest campaign to Make Holidays Greener, we jumped at the chance.

I had recently come back from Sri Lanka and had been staying at UGA hotels along the east coast, which are all set in stunning locations surrounded by natural beauty.  One thing I did notice however is that when you ventured further along the beach away from the hotel there was some litter scattered around, which had clearly been washed up.

The Big Beach Clean campaign seemed like an excellent solution, so I contacted our friends at Uga Escapes who were more than willing to team up and take part in this event at their hotel, Jungle Beach in Trincomalee.”

    V.A.Sivapriyan, General Manager – Uga Jungle Beach

“UGA proudly joined hands with Kuoni and the Travel Foundation to assist in preserving the beKuoni uga escapesauty of these virgin beaches.

I would say the beaches of Kuchchaveli where Jungle Beach is situated, are among the most pristine beaches in Sri Lanka, as these coastal areas are devoid of any commercial or private establishments. However due to the marine pollution, there are lots of plastic objects that are constantly washed  ashore, which tarnishes the natural beauty of the coast.

The beach clean was a great success and we are determined to continue this throughout the year to provide a pleasant holiday experience to our valuable guests.  It will also help showcase our commitment to sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka”

Thimasha Wanasinghe, Guest Relations Executive – Uga Jungle Beach

“We informed guests at Jungle Beach about the Make Holidays Greener beach clean on the 17th slide0013_image019June at Kuchchaveli beach, some of them were really excited and decided to take part.  They joined our staff at UGA and a group of travel agents who were visiting on a trip organised and lead by Kuoni UK. 

Participants started their clean-up from the entrance at two sites — north beach and south beach and worked toward the middle. They bent, squatted and kneeled on the sand to search for objects, the main culprit being plastic.  

 As our property is located amidst a shrub jungle that borders a lagoon, we are very conscious of keeping the environment clean. So this is a big, beautiful and extremely important initiative brought forward by the Travel Foundation to maintain a clean beach and a sustainable environment for our future generation of Sri Lanka.”  

Greener beaches to spread across the med…

The Chairman of The Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI), Philippos Drousiotis, was invited to present at the MITOMED final conference “Challenges and perspectives for Coastal and Maritime Tourism in Europe” which took place in Florence, Italy, on Tuesday the 12th of May, 2015.    MITOMED stands for ‘Models of Integrated Tourism in the Mediterranean’, is a transnational project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

MITOMED_version 1_IY_page1_image1The CSTI is a key partner of the Travel Foundation in Cyprus. Below we hear more from Philippos…

“With partners from coastal regions across the med, it was a great opportunity to talk about the work being done in Cyprus, to share our learnings and hope that the benefits can be spread to other destinations.

Something that really seemed to strike a cord with attendees was the ‘Greening Cyprus Beaches’ project, and the MITOMED partners are interested in promoting the Greening Cyprus Beaches project by including it in the action plan of the project for sustainable management of maritime and coastal tourism.

It will be presented as a good example for the regeneration of the sun & sea product in the med area by having quality beaches. It’s great to see that the results of one of our projects can be applied to other destinations, and they can benefit too.”

Find out more about the Greener Beaches project here.

The Big Beach Cleanup made holidays greener this July

Beach cleanup photo collage

How did it go?

Thousands of kilograms of rubbish were picked up from 97 beaches in 22 countries!

In total, 105 companies took part in the event. A huge thank you to all the staff, customers, residents and friends who made the Big Holiday Beach Cleanup such a success.

Thanks also for keeping us informed of your beach cleans and sending through your photos – a selection of which have been used in the above graphic, and appear in our Facebook album and on Flickr. You can also download this graphic as an A4 poster to display.

So what next?

If you haven’t already done so, please send your beach surveys to Ocean Conservancy who will use the data to keep track of the problem globally. They will also report back with observations about the litter collected and what this means.

If you’ve caught the beach clean bug, please join the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup on 20 September (or the MCS Great British Beach Clean from 19-22 September if you are UK based).

Consider getting your beach fully-green: get inspiration and advice from our Greening Cyprus Beaches film and manual and/or use our Turtle Protection tool. Be sure to keep us informed of your progress!

Thanks again for making this year’s Make Holidays Greener campaign the best yet. And thanks too to Visit Greece for sponsoring the campaign this year!

Would you eat that?

Imagine you are a hungry sea turtle that cannot tell the difference between a real jellyfish — a nutritious treat — and a floating plastic bag that very much resembles a jellyfish. Fooled by the illusion, you swallow the plastic bag — a deadly mistake. The plastic makes you feel so full that you unwittingly starve yourself to death!medasset poster

The plastic in our seas is killing hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and other marine animals each year, as they often mistake it for food. To raise awareness about this startling statistic, MEDASSET, an organisation that has been promoting safe and responsible waste disposal throughout the Mediterranean since 1998, created the “You See the Difference. A Turtle Does Not” campaign in 2012.

Millions of tourists visit the Mediterranean each summer, causing real problems for coastal communities, which are asked to manage waste well beyond their capacities. In response, MEDASSET, with support from various sponsors, placed giant posters at the Athens and Berlin Airports, hoping to directly target travelers about this enormous environmental issue.

Over the last two years, the response to the poster has been phenomenal. It has been placed in permanent exhibitions at prestigious museums and aquariums and gone viral on Facebook.

At the Vienna Natural History Museum

At the Vienna Natural History Museum

The best part of the campaign, however, is that it is truly international: it has been translated into twelve languages and adopted by like-minded organisations everywhere from Alaska, to island nations in the Indian ocean, to Costa Rica, to Australia, and all over the Mediterranean, MEDASSET’s field of activity.

It’s a tool that works, and we are glad we can share it and raise awareness about this global issue.

Jenny Ioannou, Head of Communications, MEDASSET

Brighton’s Beach Brigade gets Busy

Last week we kicked off Make Holidays Greener month with a beach clean in Brighton (strictly speaking, Hove). Over 30 people from the travel trade* came out to do their bit, and we were guided by Ed from the Marine Conservation Society – a charity that runs hundreds of beach cleans with volunteers in the UK every year.

20140703 Make Holidays Greener

It’s high season, and Brighton and Hove’s beaches are being regularly cleaned by the local council. Our section of beach looked pretty much spotless, and yet…

In under an hour, the group collected 1025 pieces of rubbish!

About two thirds of this was plastic. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, and so if someone doesn’t actually come along and pick it up, it will be there for many decades before it finally breaks down. And of course as well as looking ugly, plastic litter can cause all sorts of problems for marine wildlife and sea birds that either get caught in it, or mistake it for food and swallow it. Among our haul we picked up cigarette lighters, bottle tops, tennis balls, bits of disposable barbecues, ice lolly sticks, cigarette stubs, cotton bud sticks (flush them down the toilet and they end up on the beach), bits of fishing net and drinks cans. What’s great about the Big Holiday Beach Clean is that it’s not just about cleaning up after ourselves – tourism is only one of many sources of beach litter. Rather, tourism is perfectly placed to be part of the solution: staff and customers are based around beautiful beaches across the globe, and they really appreciate their value both to tourism and to wildlife. And once you’ve been on a beach clean you realise it’s not just worthwhile, it’s fun (especially when the sun is shining)!

We’re hoping to see over 100 beach cleans across the globe this month. Thanks to those of you who have already done yours, and sent us your pictures and stories. If you want to get involved there’s still time to sign up. And if you missed our Brighton event but want to take part in a UK clean up, please visit

*Thanks to: Flexitreks, Pure Crete, TUI Travel, AITO, Sunvil, Mountain Kingdoms, Neilson, Thomson Airways, TTG, Ski Safari, ABTA and The Eventa Group.

Thomas Cook celebrates Make Holidays Greener Month with beach cleans and holiday swap shops

Calvia Council Official MHG photo - crop

July is Make Holidays Greener Month and this year’s theme is the Big Holiday Beach Clean. Travel companies around the world are running beach clean-ups and other sustainable tourism activities. Jo Hendrickx, Sustainable Destinations Manager for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, explains how they’re getting involved…

Thomas Cook has supported the Make Holidays Greener campaign since it was first launched in 2010, and it has now become an integral part of our annual sustainability calendar. Our overseas teams particularly look forward to the month of July and use the campaign as a time to increase their sustainability activity and, in particular, to engage with holidaymakers, suppliers and local organisations.

Make Holidays Greener activities have proven a great tool in bringing people together in support of environmental and social activities that can make a really big difference to holiday destinations, and the people that live in and visit them.

Over the years, hundreds of reps, customers and suppliers have taken part in beach, underwater and forest cleans – removing waste and debris that includes bottles, cans, plastics, tyres and even toilet seats!

Our biggest achievement so far was working together with Calvia Council in Mallorca and other tour operators to undertake a joint underwater clean up in Palma Nova bay. Reps donned their scuba gear and headed underwater with specially designed floatable collection bags that enabled them to clear the seabed and float the debris up to other teams waiting at the surface. It was collected on the beach by Calvia Council and all 800kg of waste was taken for recycling.

This year, we were delighted to find that the overall campaign is based on cleaner beaches and are expecting even more activity than ever from our overseas teams as this really is our forte. We will be doing more underwater cleans along the coast in Tanzania, Sunwing and Sunprime Hotels have already carried out a number of beach cleans as have our teams in Cyprus.

In the Costa Blanca we will take a different approach as many hotels are not close to the beach, but we know there are still plenty of things we can do to make a difference, so our teams will be asking holidaymakers to recycle their almost empty sun creams, other toiletries and even lilos – by holding swap shops in hotels and then ensuring the final empty products are collected for recycling.

We are also really proud to see our Travelife GOLD awarded SENTIDO Golden Star Hotel in Bulgaria pledging their support through the Travel Foundation Beach Clean Map and are looking forward to hearing how their event goes on 12 July. It’s great to see that so many of the hotels involved here are Travelife awarded, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and involving staff and customers in their efforts.

We will be recording the efforts of all our teams and look forward to providing an update at the end of the month.

Travelife supports Make Holidays Greener 2014

Beach clean at SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Egypt

Beach clean at SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Egypt

Emma Lewis, Senior Relationships Executive at Travelife, explains why Travelife is supporting Make Holidays Greener 2014.

Travelife – the international sustainability certification scheme for hotels and accommodations – has promoted the Make Holidays Greener Big Holiday Beach Clean to all its 1,300 members worldwide, encouraging them to get involved. The majority of beach cleans on the campaign’s world map are Travelife hotel members. These include:

  • SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Hurghada, Egypt
  • Spring Arona Gran Hotel, Tenerife, Spain
  • Coral Sea Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
  • Corfu Imperial Grecotel, Corfu, Greece
  • SENTIDO Golden Star, Golden Sands Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria
  • Three Corners Ocean View, Hurghada, Egypt
  • Playitas Hotel, Fuerteventura, Spain

Travelife – which helps hotels and accommodations around the world reduce their environmental impact and support local people, local culture and the local economy – is a natural partner of the Make Holidays Greener campaign.

“The beach cleans are a great way to get staff, guests and local people involved in positive action in the holiday destination,” says Nikki White, Head of Destinations and Sustainability, Travelife. “Like the combined impact of Travelife hotels around the world, the beach cleans show that by people working together lots of simple, practical actions all add up to make a big difference.”

The SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort in Egypt has experience of successfully organising beach clean-ups with staff and guests. Its last beach clean-up involved 32 customers and 23 staff, who together collected 19 kilos of waste which was then sent for recycling. Their story was then featured as a case study in the Travelife newsletter and website to help inspire other Travelife members.

To find out more about Travelife certified hotels around the world visit the Travelife Collection website:

Serra Negra beach clean in Cape Verde for World Oceans Day

Serra Negra beach clean, Sal, Cape Verde

To celebrate World Oceans Day and Make Holidays Greener Month, the Travel Foundation worked with the Sal-based NGO SOS Tartarugas to organise a beach clean in Serra Negra, Cape Verde.

25 participants collected approximately 700kg of rubbish over 3.5 hours, including fishing nets, plastic boxes, wood and glass – enough to fill three pick-up trucks.

Members of the Sal Destination Council kindly supported the beach clean:

  • APP (water and electricity company) donated 100 rubbish bags
  • Hotel Oasis Salinas Sea donated 25 litres of drinking water and rubbish bags
  • RIU Hotel donated 30 bottles of juice, rubbish bags and cups
  • Guiantur, the Association of Tourist Guides, gave use of their pick-up truck
  • City Hall of Sal donated rubbish bags

The event was also supported by the Protected Areas Project, which provided a pick-up truck and driver, and School Kim Barbosa, which provided catering equipment. A traditional Cape Verdean hearty stew called cachupa was made by a lady called Felipa for the beach clean team.

Serra Negra beach clean, Sal, Cape Verde - Cachupa time

The Travel Foundation’s National Programme Manager for Cape Verde, Débora Abu-Raya said, “Despite the amount of rubbish we collected from Serra Negra, we still have a long way to go before the beach is clear of plastic. As our Better Beaches project progresses, we’re hoping to encourage more local residents and visitors to come to beach cleans and take better care of the beach environment. I’m sure we will get there!”

By Isabel Kearney, Destinations Programme Officer