Sustainable travelling is all about minimising your impact on the places you visit. A great way to balance out the negative impact of travelling is through doing something positive for the community and the city that you’re staying in. In Barcelona, one way of doing this is through an organised beach clean up. This consists of collecting and separating trash found on the beach, normally with a group of volunteers. Whilst you may not be responsible for littering – and we hope you aren’t! – the beach is for everyone and if we want it clean, we need to start somewhere.
With Pure Clean Earth, we met at 18:30 on a sunny Friday evening, just outside the Desigual HQ, parallel to Platja de San Sebastià. After a quick briefing on what rubbish to separate as we were collecting, we were given gloves and bags. In total there were around 40 volunteers on this occasion, which made for a great team atmosphere. Throughout the course of the clean up we picked up countless cigarette butts, plastic bottles, straws, empty beer bottles and all kinds of packaging.
We made our way along the beach towards Platja Barceloneta and the public began to notice what we were doing. Lots of people on the beach came up to us to say thank you and we were also stopped by a few wanting to know how they could get involved themselves. Raising awareness is the real goal of the beach clean up, both in increasing consciousness of where your litter should be thrown and in alerting the public to the clean-up itself i.e. the more participants, the cleaner the beach. Whether this inspires someone to take part in a clean up or if they just learn to be more responsible with their litter, a positive change has been made.
Overall, the group managed to collect 41kg of rubbish in 40mins – that’s equivalent to 13,120 teabags! Whilst this may seem small when compared to the daunting task of saving our planet, helping to clean up the beach was a great way to feel connected with nature and to hopefully inspire others to be more eco-conscious. (It was also a pretty good work out!)
Here’s a link to the Pure Clean Earth Barcelona beach clean up facebook event. They are organising weekly clean-ups every Friday at 18:30 throughout September but times and dates could vary.
There are number of other groups that organise beach clean ups, in case you want to get involved but aren’t available to take part in the one organised by Pure Clean Earth. We’ve attached one here that takes place on Saturday mornings but there’s plenty of others out there!
Drop us a message on Facebook if you want to share your own experience of a beach clean up or if you have some other ideas on how to make travelling more sustainable – we’d love to check them out!