VLPF and the University of Milan together for the monitoring and clean up of the island Lazzaretto Nuovo

June 19, 2024
VLPF and the University of Milan together for the monitoring and clean up of the island Lazzaretto Nuovo

In 2022, Venice Lagoon Plastic Free (VLPF) signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ecomuseum of Lazzaretti Veneziani to enhance the cultural and environmental heritage of Lazzaretto Nuovo Island. 

This island serves as an excellent laboratory for monitoring macroplastic pollution. Indeed, it has been subjected to seasonal monitoring with clean-up initiatives for several years. These efforts are particularly effective on the eastern side of the island, along the Canal Tresso, a nearly “untouched” area where the removal and study of debris are of great interest. This is because the waste is only deposited by the waters, unlike a beach where litter can be left by visitors. This area also offers the opportunity to investigate historical stratification.

Supporting the development of this memorandum, the first monitoring and clean-up activity of 2024 took place on Friday, June 7, with the participation of the University of Milan.

Indeed, students and professors of the Social and Environmental Psychology course of the Master in Human Sciences of the Environment, Territory and Landscape spent several days on Lazzaretto Nuovo island for the laboratory called “Teaching Workshop: the Psychological Effects of Nature and Culture: Theories and Experiences in the Lazzaretti Veneziani Ecomuseum”.

During their stay, participants explored the psychological benefits of the natural landscape and the island’s rich history, applying geographical theories related to cultural depth, the lagoon environment, and participatory regeneration.

Moreover, this activity is part of the Horizon Europe project REMEDIES. Indeed, during this session, university students utilised an app, initially conceived as part of the MAELSTROM project and subsequently developed by the REMEDIES project, to monitor collected waste. This app allows for monitoring collected waste according to European standards, recording each piece’s type, size, and material within a specific area.

The monitoring yielded significant data on the number of items (1176!) collected and their more frequent typologies: 

  • A total of 292 fragments of foamed polystyrene (2.5 cm >=<= 50 cm)
  • 128 large plastic wrappers from crisps and sweet wrappers (>50 cm)
  • 123 Fragments of non-foamed plastic (2.5 cm >=<= 50 cm)
  •  A total of 69 smaller items (processed, worked, or treated wooden) smaller than 50 cm
  • 60 pieces of plastic sheets, industrial packaging, sheeting

This initiative marks an important step in the collaboration between VLPF and the Ecomuseum of Venetian Lazarettos, which promotes environmental protection and enhances the cultural heritage of Lazzaretto Nuovo Island.