Monday 14th June 2021 – ÁLVARO MONFORT with Mike Smith
It is hard to believe that under those idyllic blue waters of Xàbia, there is so much junk. But more incredible is that this incredible amount of rubbish has come from human beings, the same species that uses this impressive setting so much to frame its best moments and bathe in a sea of ‘likes’ on social media or use it as an advertising backdrop.
According to the United National Environment Programme, Spain throws “more than 126 tones of plastic into the sea every day, almost 46,000 tons every year”. Unfortunately, the concept of “human being” is a general one that encompasses both those who don’t respect the environment as well as those concerned about its current stage by deciding to dive into these blue waters and give some respite to that great ecosystem that contributes so much.
Last Saturday 12th June, 49 volunteers responded to the call of Proyecto Libera (subsidized by the Marine Watch Network) to carry out an intense cleaning day of the waters along the Primer Montañar (the stretch of coastline between the port and the Arenal) and around the Cala del Ministro (behind the Parador Hotel), two of the most problematic areas when in comes to the health state of the seabed.
Divided into two working groups – one on land and the other underwater – who had the support of the Cruz Roja, the volunteers managed to removed around 400kg of rubbish from these waters. Specifically, 53 tyres were removed from the seabed (and, apparently, there are many, many more in the deeper waters), 300 cigarette butts, 10 bags full of wet wipes, 40 bottles and jugs, a sink and some rubble. In addition, there were glass fibres, a large quantity of iron, plastic pipes, steel plates, ropes, condoms, cans, plastics of all kinds, clothing, sandals and textiles of different kinds were pulled out of the water.
Under the coordination and organization of the Valencia Firefighters Activities Club and the Portitxol de Xàbia Archaeological Project, a large group came together from different associations, entities and non-profit institutions such as Sonars, the IROX, the Association of Traditional Boats of Xàbia, the Soler Blasco Museum, Pòsit de Xàbia, Àncora Cultura de Mar, Mercat Municipal, Cruz Roja Xàbia, Bimi, Leader Tecna, the Marina Alta Firefighters Association and the University of Panama.
After counting and classifying everything collected for later removal, the Fishermen’s Guild offered a meal for all participants in the clean-up where the need for a second cleaning day was confirmed, given the large amount of rubbish that is still on the seabed of the Primer Montañar.