Spring Cleaning on the Beach


On the 8th of May, one of our first active contributions towards improving the Italian environment took us to – where else? – Ieranto bay! We got to go in kayak (first time too!) on the windy wavy sea. For use in the bay there are two types of kayak: the slower, but easily manageable sit-on-top kayaks and the fast little red ones. For this day, the latter were reserved for our experienced tutors.





It was a beautiful experience to be able to freely go around and explore the bay in the sunshine. But more than for having fun in the sun, we had come to Ieranto this day to work. To clean the two beaches we divided into two groups. Our mission: Collect all the rubbish! Since this was the first spring cleaning after winter and took place after a rainy windy week, this turned out to be quite a lot. All of it was not only collected, but also counted and documented. The rubbish consisted mostly of polystyrene (styrofoam), plastic bottles, other miscellaneous pieces of plastic, and a few cans.


More spectacular finds included a large rusty metal sign and a refrigerator. Transporting all of it back thus seemed quite a challenge, and required Gaelle to give up her kayak and hitch a ride with Tanja and Valentina on the double kayak.


The somewhat rough sea led to some minor accidents for Mikus and Frauke, who got run over by their kayaks when they tried to get them back on the water. The contents of their kayaks were thus spilled into the water. Unbeknownst to Mikus, his kayak contained one of our underwater cameras. Luckily, Mimì decided to take a group photo with all kayaks before disembarking, so the absence of the camera was noted in time: After a quick investigation by Detective Sgambati into who handed the missing camera to whom at what time and where they put it, we figured out its most likely location and speedily returned for a successful recovery.

Our second cleaning day led us to the beautiful marina di Crapolla. Mimì’s green van transported us safely to Torca, where we met up with Andrea, intern at the Marine Protected Area of Punta Campanella. After walking down 650 steps, we arrived at the bay. A stunningly beautiful place, yet sadly covered in trash as far as the eye could see.


Armed with purple and black trash bags we set out once again to separate polystyrene, plastic bottles, and thousands of small pieces of plastic from metal, fabric, glass, and many other often indefinable objects. Meanwhile, Andrea diligently noted down every number we shouted at him.



Some of the trash we found was immediately reused to make art, or as improvised instruments by Alvaro and Mimì, and of course the nice music lightened our work.



After several hours of labouring under the sun, we took our lunch break and finally got to enjoy the Fiordo di Crapolla in all its beauty.


Before climbing back up the 650 stairs, we neatly stacked all our collected bags on the beach, ready to be picked up via rubber boat a few days later on the 12th. Some more cleaning was done that day as well, and finally all rubbish was transported to its disposal destination at Marina del Cantone with the Park’s gommone.


The gommone had to make two trips to transport all the rubbish we found in Crapolla: all in all 140kg, including 15kg of polystyrene (a lot, given how light it is – taking up 10 big rubbish bags), 16kg of plastic pieces and bottles, 50kg of undifferentiated rubbish which can’t be recycled, 43kg of metal, and even a car battery.

This large amount of rubbish we collected on only two small beaches represents just a tiny fraction of the vast amounts swimming in our oceans, and it provides a valuable reminder: