COMMON BEach Clean Campaign 2022, tourists and beach operators together to protect marine life
A single plastic bag may not seem like much, but when it is part of the millions of tons of litter ending up in the sea every year, it has a concrete impact on marine life. For many living beings in our oceans, the distinction between litter and food is not clear, and they may end up being poisoned. Others may get trapped in improperly disposed waste.
For the third year, from the 20th of June to September, Eni CBC Med Programme-funded COMMON (COastal Management and Monitoring Network for tackling marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea) project organizes a Mediterranean Sea activism and awareness-raising campaign – the Beach Clean. Teaming up with the beach operators and the tourists, we strongly believe that we can all make a real difference for our beloved Mediterranean Sea, taking responsible action as individuals and collectively.
Each participating resort will post a ten-point list of good practices, in the main Italian, Lebanese and Tunisian languages, to inform tourists about the possibility of reducing marine litter through a few good habits and will participate in a survey aimed at analyzing and learning about the health conditions of the beaches under their jurisdiction.
For the 2022 edition, COMMON sent 7.000 portable paper ashtrays to the hundred facilities involved, encouraging correct behavior by smokers, creating awareness of the danger of pollution from cigarette butts, and encouraging their proper disposal.
The BEach CLEAN campaign stems from the need to protect the beaches’ environmental heritage and promotes a dialogue between tourists and beach operators. In summer the Mediterranean Sea and its coastal systems are threatened by intense anthropogenic pressures, including the rapid accumulation of marine litter by diverse human activities. The region, which is the world’s leading touristic destination, has to face a seasonal increase in waste generation due to the seasonal influx of visitors.
Five different areas of the Mediterranean are involved: Maremma and Salento in Italy, Kuriat Island and Monastir in Tunisia, and the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve in Lebanon, to promote sustainable and inclusive beach operators, places that know how to improve respect for the environment and guarantee tourists and citizens the opportunity to live the beach responsibly.
Last year the campaign involved 80 structures, including resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other tourist facilities linked to the Tunisian, Lebanese, and Italian coastal areas.
To gather information, 200 responses were collected from the surveys. The most found wastes were cigarette butts (48%) and plastic fragments (30%), followed by cotton swabs (6%) and pieces of polystyrene (4%). 30% of respondents noted the abandonment of PPE (Personal protective equipment), and only half said they dispose of them correctly. Furthermore, 66% stated that tourist facilities have not adopted special measures to prevent the dispersion of PPE in the environment.
This year, as in 2021, the survey is conducted using two types of questionnaires: where the questionnaire of "type 1" is conducted by beach operators, and the questionnaire of "type 2" is dedicated to the tourist independently. The research objectives are to learn about the habits related to their daily waste management and to analyze the main difficulties related to their correct disposal.
All interested tourists can join the survey by using the link: https://bit.ly/BEachCleanTourists
The pollution of our Mediterranean sea starts on land and each one of us can take simple actions to prevent it!