This September 2020, we met our friends from 'Orca Sound Project': an organization focused on tackling the global plastic waste crisis, transforming mixed plastic waste into usable circular construction materials; and we also had the pleasure of participating in two inspiring initiatives to clean up the island: the 'World Cleanup Day' and the 'Plogging Tour'.
The 'World Cleanup Day' started in Estonia in 2008 when 50,000 people gathered to clean the entire country in just 5 hours. Twelve years later, in 2020, more than 21 million people gather to clean roads, streets, forests and beaches throughout more than 180 countries one day a year. In Ibiza, on Septemper 19th, we met about 150 volunteers to cleanup our beloved island.
On the other hand, the 'Plogging Tour' is a pioneering initiative that promotes outdoor sports while collecting garbage on the way. The idea that was born in Stockholm in 2017, today has spread to more than 100 countires and every day more than 25,000 people are dedicated to collecting gabage while practicing sports in specific events such as the one on September 27th in Ibiza.
After each of the cleaning events the feeling that remained was a bittersweet one. The feeling of finding so much garbage in natural environments we vitis every day is disheartening. In geenpeace data: todain only 9% of all the plastic that has been produced and consumed to date globally has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated, and the vast majority, 79% has ended up in landfills or the environment. Once in the environment, it takes decades to hundreds of years to decompose, however they do break down into smaller and smaller particles called microplastics that have already entered our food chain. A study carried out by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in conjunction with the University of Newcastle, Australia, indicated that on average a person can ingest, through water, air and food, and depening on their consumption habits, about five grams of plastic weekly. An amount that is equivalent to eating a credit card.
On the other hand, in the three initiatives we find inspiring energy, to witness how an idea can mobilize so many people wanting to live in a better world and unite with a common goal: to cleanup the planet and give a second live to the trash, brings back hope.
We only hope that events and ideas like these are the seed of a day to day awareness when it comes to consumption, and reallly ask ourselves: Where doeas all our waste go?