By sticking to our tradition of organising clean-up activities either on World Environment Day (June 5th) or on World Ocean Day (June 8th), this year we opted for the former to coordinate a vast clean-up operation of Venice and its Lagoon.
This year’s activity was a bit different from the previous editions since it was the first joint clean-up led by VLPF in the frame of InNoPlastic and MAELSTROM projects. Moreover, for the first time, more than 30 local associations took part in the event. Never before have so many organisations joined Venice for a single event dedicated to cleaning our lagoon and the mainland from plastic pollution!
VLPF arranged clean-up in 12 different locations, from the historic city centre to the islands of Murano and Pellestrina, ports and inland parks and forests. Around 150 people accompanied us, not only from our long-term partner associations but as well our Organisation’s volunteers, youth, students and stakeholders from the tourism, hospitality, transport and other sectors. Unfortunately, the pandemic restrictions limited our activity, so there was no general gathering before or after the clean-up. It is necessary to mention that all activities were insured and delivered using personal protection equipment, ensuring safety to all participants.
We collected, by using a first experimental smart app set out by the Norwegian start-up Empower, around three tons of waste during the day, of which more than 1,500 kg made of plastics. One part of this went to the facilities of GEES Recycling, a MAELSTROM project partner, for further analysis and mechanical recycling. The rest of the collected waste made of a wide variety of litter: fishing nets, food packaging, bottles, boat ropes, tires, along with chairs, shoes and pieces of luggage, confirming once more that our seas contain tremendous amounts of waste in all forms and shapes and origins. These were all brought to VERITAS facilities, the local and public-owned waste management company of Venice that played a crucial role in the clean-up by supplying gloves, bags, and other needed tools for safe and secure disposal of the picked litter and final treatment.
The full list of local associations that participated in the clean-up is the following: Legambiente Venezia, Fare Verde, Generazione ’90, Live Venice, Jonix, Prontopia, Servizi Tecnici, FAI – delegazione di Venezia, Gees Recycling, Bosco e Grandi Parchi, Classic Boats Venice, Poseidone, Row Venice, La Salsola, I Barenanti, Polo Nautico Punta Sangiuliano, Circolovelico Casanova, Voga Veneta, Global Shapers Venice, Il Fiume, Cantieri Biasin, Associazione Brenta Sicuro, Marevivo, Canottieri Mestre, Sestante di Venezia, ASD Gloria Rogliani, SKAL Venezia, PC Chioggia, AVPSC Salzano, Canoa Club, Circolo Vela Mestre.
The clean-up exceeded our expectations, and we are overwhelmed with enthusiastic feedback provided by the local volunteers and clean up teams. In addition, the members of the InNoPlastic Consortium organised in parallel similar events in other locations by magnifying its international scope. These, in turn, increased the overall quantities of the collected plastics that feed the project’s circular solutions and enable us to test technologies developed within InNoPlastic.
This event will retake place on the occasion of World Clean up Day in September.