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Travelling around the Mediterranean to clean up the sea, the amazing journey of Carola Farci, the eco-prof!

From the Poetto beach and the beaches of Sardinia to the world, travelling thousands of kilometers across eight Countries, along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. With one goal: to clean up the sea and the beaches, collecting as much plastic and waste as possible, involving and raising awareness live and online for children and adults. 

Carola Farci, a 31-year-old teacher from Cagliari, talks about her journey from her Instagram profile ecoprof.travel which began last October and which will end in September when she returns to work from her sabbatical year to involve, through her experience, even more her students from the school of Cagliari where she works and teaches. Carola is not alone on this journey, together with her labrador Polly and her "mobile octopus", a car painted with a large blue octopus. 

A few days ago, the MEDSEA team reached Carola online, to share a piece of her adventure to protect the sea. A mission that we have fully embraced with the foundation for some years with the various Plastic Free Med projects. This is why we root for Carola and for all of those who work hard every day to defend our Ocean from plastics in the sea! 

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Hi Carola, we are on day 177 from your departure with the mission to clean up the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, how are you and where are you? 

Hello everyone, right now I am in Montenegro, in particular in a “Workaway” (platform that connects travelers, volunteers and workers like Carola, with hosts who can house them) near Tivot in Montenegro. The tiredness begins to be felt but I am very well. 

A sabbatical year to clean up the sea and do something tangible to tackle climate change, reduce the risk for marine fauna… (plastics are the main culprits). Now that you are halfway through your journey, looking back would you do it all again and why? 

In reality, I am much more than halfway through: on 1 September I start school again, so for the summer I will be in Sardinia. Let's say that I begin to glimpse the end and looking back I would do everything exactly as I did it: waking up every morning and going to clean the beach gives a sense to my day. Bottle after bottle, kilo after kilo, I finally felt I was doing something useful for our planet. 

Yes, you are, and we are so thankful to you for that. How many tons of waste have you collected and in how many countries? 

Right now, the tally is 2.7 tons, but it is obviously constantly changing. We are talking about almost three tons in less than six months, a monstrous figure collected in eight countries: Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro. 

Does Polly, your dog, dive you a paw in these clean ups ?? 

Of course, she is now a champion in the recovery of bottles! 

Did you find many differences in the amount of garbage recovered from country to country? What are the most extreme situations, which is the area that impressed you the most for cleanliness and civility? 

No area struck me for cleanliness and civility, but among the countries I have seen so far, Italy is certainly the best placed. In other places it is impossible even to find separate waste collection! The black jersey belongs to Albania:  expanse of glass bottles and plastic wastes are abandoned by the sea…  I had never seen anything so tragic. I know that for the tourist season they clean up everything, but in all the other months of the year the garbage ends up in the sea by the tons. Turkey also has some tragic areas, while in Montenegro there is a clear distinction between beaches in the south, which are rather dirty, and beaches in the north, which are very clean. 

Another thing that surprised me is Bulgaria: clean beaches, but rivers and hinterland very polluted…  

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Can you share an episode you will never forget? 

A few days ago, I was in Sutomore, a beach in southern Montenegro in a terrible condition. I had been trying to clean it for four days but, despite the tens of kilos recovered, we still walked on the plastic. Then suddenly a Montenegrin woman came by, pregnant, with a dog and a baby, and started to help me. Then another woman arrived, also pregnant, but this time Ukrainian, a refugee there. She immediately got busy too and called the whole Ukrainian community. An hour later we were twenty people and we were able to completely clean the beach. 

In your journey you also raise awareness to invite everyone to do their part: how do people react when they meet you, help you clean up or do they postpone these activities for when they have time…? 

The two girls mentioned above particularly struck me because they are a rarity. Throughout the journey, very few people came to help me, while many congratulated me, but did not get busy to support me. 

Different speech for the people who hosted me during my journey: many of them came with me to the beach and gave me a hand, and some continued even after my departure. 

Have you ever found other eco travelers in line with your mission? 

It has happened to me in some Workaways where I have been: it has happened that they came to the beach with me, or they helped me carry the bags up to the bins, which is the heaviest part. 

Next destination? 

Croatia. Although I haven't found anyone to host me at the moment, so we'll see. 

Advice for those who want to do something useful for the sea as you are doing? 

Everything is much simpler than it seems, nor do you need to go to the other side of Europe to lend a hand to the sea: just wear gloves and bags and get out on the street. Whether you live near the sea or not, sooner or later all the waste dispersed in the environment ends up there. So, it is essential to recover them. Each kilo is a kilo less in the marine ecosystem, and if we all did it, even as a simple daily habit, even just when we walk the dog or go out for a walk, we would live in a cleaner world. 

Thanks Carola, we are waiting for you here in Cagliari on your return! 


Pics by Carola Farci

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