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Waste Hunt at Sella del Diavolo to Protect our Cetaceans Friends

Last Saturday on June 15th, nearly a ton of waste was recovered both on land and at sea during the "Puliamo la Sella!" event in Cagliari. The collected items included plastics, marine equipment (such as an entire boat recovered in pieces), and bizarre objects like fake legs leftover from some Halloween, PC screens, and construction materials. These items were gathered by over 150 volunteers on Saturday morning, during the traditional clean-up event organized by the MEDSEA Foundation, in collaboration with numerous aquatic and non-aquatic sports associations operating in Poetto. 

The collective removal of waste from the sea and land, which started from Marina Piccola and extended along the Cagliari coast, was challenged this year by adverse marine weather conditions, characterized by strong sirocco winds and rough seas. However, despite these difficulties, the amount of waste collected was consistent with previous years, as reported by the organizers, with approximately a ton of waste removed. "This annual event in the city of Cagliari aims to promote respect for marine and coastal habitats," explains Piera Pala, president of the MEDSEA Foundation. "About 80% of the plastic found in the seas comes from inadequate waste management on land, mainly due to the limited capacity to reuse and recycle plastic materials*." 


The sixth edition of "Puliamo la Sella!" was dedicated to our friends, the cetaceans, marine mammals that, like many other species, are severely threatened by marine plastic pollution. For the occasion,
Laura Pintore, Marine Wildlife Expert from WWF Italy, gave an in-depth presentation during the event. On a Mediterranean level, "75% of cetacean species are considered threatened," says Pintore. "This scenario highlights the urgent need to undertake conservation measures to protect these iconic species from human impacts such as the risk of collisions with heavy maritime traffic, entanglement in fishing gear (bycatch), acoustic, plastic, and chemical pollution, and the effects of climate change." 

During the event, MEDSEA and WWF Italy announced a new collaboration recently formalized through a memorandum of understanding, aiming to strengthen their joint commitment to the protection and enhancement of Sardinia's marine-coastal ecosystems through research, environmental education, and sustainable management of natural resources. This includes the protection of cetaceans through monitoring and research projects, standardization of observation protocols, development of management tools for Marine Protected Areas, promotion of responsible whale watching activities, and dissemination of knowledge about biodiversity. 

The 2024 edition was sponsored by RAS - Autonomous Region of Sardinia, the Municipality of Cagliari, and the Regional Network for Marine Fauna Conservation, with the support of Tuttigiorni, Sardinian supermarkets committed to reducing plastic, and Motomar Sarda. 

The final collection of waste was carried out in collaboration with the Municipality of Cagliari and De Vizia. 

*UNEP Data, 2021 - UNEP Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution 

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