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Surfrider Foundation Europe comes to Arguineguin … and they need you!

By Daniel Alcock

For the fifteenth year running, Surfrider Foundation Europe is organising the “Ocean Initiatives”, a major eco-friendly event devoted to the protection of our coastline, lakes and rivers and this year we will be involved right here in Arguineguin and in San Andres in the north of the island.

On Saturday 20th March, Surf Canaries is working with the Surfrider Foundation and is organizing the 2010 beach clean in Callao, Arguineguin (the surfing beach to the left of Fusion). Almost simultaneously, Club Oleaje (from the north of the island) will be cleaning San Andres beach (a beach local to them). This event, apart from being very important and improving our beach and the wildlife, should also be a fun and very social event! Surfrider Foundation Europe has been operating for 20 years now and this year is launching a major environmental programme on the management (or rather lack of management) of macro-waste and its failure to be processed as pollution in Europe .

What are the Ocean Initiative's objectives?

1. To educate more and more schoolchildren and the general public about the protection of the coast, oceans, lakes and rivers, as well as increasing awareness on eco-friendliness.

2. To study the impact of the waste on coasts in both qualitative and quantitative terms.

3. To bring the problems to the attention of our elected representatives, the authorities and the media.

These beach cleanups are organised once per year throughout the world on the first weekend in spring. During the winter, litter and waste accumulates on our beaches so right now is an opportune time for a clear up. Cleaning a beach as a collective group shows the local authorities that the general public has an awareness of pollution issues, want to improve coastal areas and as voters, hopefully there should be a political influence for future policies on the subject. If no-one does anything, the politicians think that we (the voters) don't care about this subject and they in turn won't have an incentive to make keeping our coastline clean an objective. As residents in Gran Canaria, almost all of us rely in some way on tourism. Setting a momentum and getting politicians to think more in the direction of cleaning our ocean will definitely help Gran Canaria in the long term as a tourist destination.

Last year, the Ocean Initiatives beach cleans attracted a record number of participants. More than 20,000 volunteers gathered together and over the course of one weekend cleaned 500 sites in 24 countries.

Macro-waste; a hidden form of pollution!

Macro-waste is effectively litter in the sea. But did you know, the European institutions still do not consider macro-waste to be a genuine form of pollution? There is therefore very little data on the macro-waste that ends up in our rivers and on our coastline. Even though the UN estimates that each kilometre of ocean contains 120,000 floating pieces of plastic and that certain parts of our oceans contain six times more plastic than plankton!

So please come along! Bring your gloves, party atmosphere and let's help the ocean that we all enjoy. At 10:00 am , Saturday 20 th , on the car park of the football stadium in Arguineguin!


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