Silba shines with clean shorelines! (Action of cleaning and monitoring of waste on the seabed on Silba)

Silba shines with clean shorelines! is the name of an educational-research project that the Society, in cooperation with all interested members of the general public and its project partners, carried out on the island of Silba. First of all, we consider it important to point out that all the achieved goals are the result of the will, desire, work and togetherness of all participants in this project. Through a series of activities, guided by the phrase : “All for one, one for all!”, that we have diligently done, we have achieved success that we still remember fondly!

But now let’s start from the beginning!

We decided on carrying out double cleaning actions and removing waste from the seabed in the three bays on the island of Silba and monitoring it. The purpose was to determine and compare the amount of waste on the seabed that is present before the nautical tourism season and the amount of waste that is present after the tourist season has ended. The bays were selected based on the wishes and needs of the local population – the bay of Sv. Ante, Južni porat bay and Lojišće bay. After choosing the locations, we gathered a team, “rolled up the sleeves of a diving suit” and went to work! We successfully carried out the actions of cleaning the seabed within the previously mentioned three bays, and our order, work and discipline resulted in the seabed being cleaned of waste. As a result of the activity – waste monitoring – we came to certain numbers. In total, during the cleaning campaign we collected about a hundred kg of waste, which directly prevented further decomposition of waste in the sea (large waste to small – small waste to even smaller) and provided a better atmosphere for visitors and bathers of these bays. For all those who have not yet found themselves in the role of divers, we have organized several actions of cleaning the beaches of the mentioned bays, where waste monitoring was also carried out.

Considering the fact that the waste on the seabed is not the only waste in the sea and the fact that we had successfully removed it in the cleaning actions, we wanted to eliminate the problem of the waste that floats on the sea surface and is often flooded on the beaches due to waves. So, we decided to make bins for flooded waste. Flooded waste is a problem both for the surrounding vegetation of the coastal area and for a number of living communities that spend their developmental stages, but also life, in this area. Also, people certainly do not want to lie on beautiful beaches while surrounded by plastic bottles, bags, cigarette butts, … In order to prevent the damage that flooded waste can potentially cause, in cooperation with a large number of young islanders on Silba and a number of islanders who voluntarily participated in this initiative, we decided to make bins for flood waste.

The bins are temporary infrastructure for collecting alluvial waste. They are made of wood, painted with unique motifs and placed in the following three locations: Mavrova Bay, Pernastica Bay and Lojišće Bay. Also, each installed bin for aluvial waste contains clearly marked “instructions for use” and a QR code, by scanning which the Society receives an e-mail about the need to empty it. In this innovative way, we have enabled the regulation of their occupancy and their timely emptying. The locations for the installation were suggested by the islanders and fans of Silba – we decorated the bucket in Mavrova in cooperation with the artistic-ecological platform Silba Environment Art, the bucket in Lojišće was decorated by members of the Society for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage Silba, while the bucket in Pernastica Bay was decorated local children.

Despite the fact that we had a lot of work to do, we still managed to find enough time to dedicate to the organization of the photo exhibition “Light and Darkness on the Sea Route”. The company is actively conducting a number of its activities on the island of Silba, and this is the second edition of this exhibition in a row. Within the organization, in addition to the members of the Society, our loyal partners were also present, and of course the local population and visitors on Silba are always ready to support an event like this. The specificity of the exhibition lies in the fact that it represents a play of darkness and light, that is, the good and bad aspects of the seabed. The exhibition encompasses all the extremes of Silba and raises awareness of both the pristine beauty of the seabed and the threats that threaten it. The exhibition is held in the center of town in the evening after sunset. A manifestation like this one is accepted, and any comment other than that: “See you next year in the same place!” Is superfluous. If you haven’t had a chance to experience this atmosphere yet, come back to us next year because we are already collecting photos to upgrade the existing set!

Furthermore, at the end of the tourist season we had to carry out another action of cleaning the seabed in the same bays where we carried out the first action (St. Anthony Bay, South Porat Bay and Lojišče Bay) with the aim of comparing the amount of waste in the sea before and after the nautical season. After the end of the post-season underwater cleaning actions and after the monitoring, we came to the realization that we had collected 60 kg of waste from the sea.

As part of the implementation of this project, our last goal and special challenge was the following – creating an educational manual on marine waste, plastics and microplastics! Awareness of the need to create this continuing educational material in the form of a manual arose from the desire to provide all interested parties with the opportunity to learn and / or upgrade already acquired knowledge with key information and important messages sent by this manual (the manual is available for free download below).

A special success is the increase of awareness of the general public about the problem of waste in the marine environment, increased concern of a number of individuals for the protection of the marine environment, clearer thinking about solving the problem of marine waste and of course an educational manual for ALL interested.

And finally, let’s move on, feeling happy and satisfied with the successful implementation of all activities of this project and the realization of new partnerships full of motivation!

A big thank you to all our partners!

This project was implemented with the financial support of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency and the City of Zadar. The content is the sole responsibility of the Marine Explorers Society 20,000 leagues and under no circumstances can it be considered as a reflection of the position of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency and the City of Zadar.