Coastal Clean-up

SOMAR brought attention to International Coastal Cleanup Day on 18 September, removing rubbish from six beaches. 

by Daniela Nobre

The Algarve coast is known for its immense beauty and pristine waters, though it is not immune to one of the biggest environmental problems of our time: marine pollution. At first glance, this may not be evident, but with a short walk on the beach, it is possible to find pieces of plastic among other debris on the sand and ocean. 

More than 30 years ago, communities along the American shoreline started noticing this debris and it resulted in the International Coastal Cleanup phenomenon organised by Ocean Conservancy. 

Over the years, it has expanded to many countries, including Portugal. Here, the event is promoted by Oceano Azul Foundation, integrating a European initiative in collaboration with the European Commission, European External Action Service and United Nations.

SOMAR joined the worldwide movement for the second consecutive year and marked the International Coastal Cleanup Day with six beach clean-ups and one underwater in the Lagos and Portimão regions. These actions brought several local entities together (municipalities, primary schools, surf and nature tour companies) with one common purpose: preserving our ocean. 

The event took place between 18–26 September and, throughout that week, more than 60 kg of marine litter was removed from our coastline with the help of 60 volunteers! The main items collected were cigarette butts, plastic fragments and bottle caps. A vast amount of glass and plastic bottles were also found, raising a major concern on how to mitigate this issue. The environmental impact of the pandemic was evident by the considerable quantity of disposable face masks on the beach accesses and surrounding cliffs.

The event contributed data to a pilot study conducted by Oceano Azul Foundation as part of a citizen science project which aims to identify and analyse marine waste at a national level to inform the policymakers. 

Together we can make a change for a cleaner planet and a healthier ocean. 

SOMAR is an association for marine conservation and bioacoustics. Founded last year by a couple of oceanographers, this local NGO based in Lagos focuses on science outreach and communication to the public while conducting research about cetaceans on the Algarve coastline.

To learn more about the activities carried out by SOMAR, visit the website


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