Beach clean-up in Tordigliano

On Monday, 18th of January, we continued the series of beach clean-ups proceeding with Tordigliano beach – the last one before the Punta Germano where the Marine Park officially ends within the zone C. To arrive there, we followed the windy road which going further leads to the famous places of Amalfi coast such as Praiano, Positano, and Amalfi. It took us around 20 minutes to reach Tordigliano following the sentiero (eng trail) which offers beautiful views.

Once we reached the sea, we observed the small beach with very thick banquettes of decaying Posidonia oceanica. Sea Grass Posidonia oceanica plays an important role in the marine ecosystem by providing habitat and nursery for diverse fish and invertebrate species and reducing coastal erosion. Facies of banks of dead leaves of Posidonia have been recognized as a EUNIS habitat type (A2.131). These facies are characterized by the accumulation of plant debris made up mostly of dead Posidonia oceanica leaves and/or other marine phanerogam* species.

*phanerogam species – species of plants that reproduce using seeds, not spores.

It is also known as “the lungs of the Mediterranean” because it produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide. Posidonia is being endangered and mechanically damaged by anchoring of the boats. For this reason, we are monitoring the Bay of Ieranto during the summer season and do not allow unauthorized boats to enter.

Posidonia beds

In Tordigliano we stumbled upon a couple of fishermen repairing the fishing nets and, also, a lot of cats lurking around the area. Well, Tordigliano is famous because around 20 cats inhabit this hidden paradise. Cats of all colours and sizes enjoy their ”private” beach, and although they are not completely wild, do not expect that they will want to be stroked!

After crossing the small beach, climbing metal ladders, and a big pile of rocks, we discovered a stunning and spacious rocky beach. At the first glance, it seemed that the beach is clean and that we will not have a lot of cleaning up to do. However, when we took a closer look, between the rocks and other hidden spots, once again we witnessed the big amounts of plastic waste, mainly polystyrene, two big car tires, pieces of iron, and abandoned or lost fishing gear. Moreover, the nets are known as ‘’ghost nets’’ which continue to float in the sea, entangle and kill marine wildlife.

Tordigliano beach

The most common waste was foamed polystyrene, or as we mostly call it a Styrofoam, which is one of many types of plastics, puffed with air becomes incredibly light and useful in food packaging, housing insulation, or in protecting our products while being transported. So light and practical, yet so harmful material that easily breaks into very small pieces. Waves and the sun help to break it into tiny pieces which are very hard to collect and remove from the environment. Pieces of cooling boxes that probably come from the fishing boats, buoys, and many other products are threatening sea birds and many other sea organisms. In which way will we ever get rid of famous tiny polystyrene balls remain an enormous challenge for humanity. Some scientific studies show that there are efficient decomposing bacteria and sunlight which can turn polystyrene into Carbon Dioxide and Dissolved Organic Carbon. For more information, read the full paper HERE! However, what we know for certain is that as individuals we can try to reduce our negative impact by paying attention to the packages that we are buying, especially to be careful with the takeaways packed in polystyrene boxes!

Before and after

After 1.5 hours of cleaning the beach, a lot of trash was been collected. Besides the project M.A.R.E team, we had help from a young man who came to soak up the sun but motivated by the collective action he joined and helped us with the cleaning.

Our special thanks go to the Comune di Massa Lubrense, Comune di Positano, Terra delle Sirene, società Multiservice and Associazione Macchia Mediterranea for helping us with the transport and a proper disposal of the trash next day!