Astove – 10 days Beach Clean Up on the Äußeren Islands {Interview}

About 5 Tons. The is collected the amount of trash that The Ocean Project Seychelles (TOP) in 2018, together with 1,300 participants in its 36 Beach Clean Ups on the beaches of the Seychelles. Plastic bottles, straws, fishing lines, fishing accessories, flip flops and cigarette butts are to be flushed, but thousands, or sometimes, unfortunately, also by environmentally unfriendly people on the beach and left.

18. to 31. March, the first Beach Clean Up of the Outer Islands and Atolls, stand – also in the Outer Islands. Hundreds of kilometers from the main Islands, were the organizers just prior to the challenge to bring the participants there, and reasonably accommodate, but also to let the garbage then to Mahé transport.

On the short-term invitation to participate I'm so happy, however, I was at this time for my book printing in Germany and was not able to attend. You can imagine how sad I was about it. Will share to my friends Diana of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) and Ben from WiseOceans your experience, because the two of them were with your Team on Astove on-the-go.

#Seychelles outer island cleanup

#1 | dear Diana, dear Ben. Please introduce yourself.

Ben: Hi, I'm Ben, a marine biologist from England and I work here in the Seychelles as an "Education & Outreach Manager" in WiseOceans. The marine conservation organization is active worldwide and has its headquarters on Mahé at Petite Anse, the Four Seasons Resort.

Diana: Hi, I'm Diana, am originally from Germany and work as a consultant for sustainable tourism and am a co-founder of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation.

We have been living for three years on Mahé.

#2 | How did the Beach Clean Up of the Outer Islands come about?

Diana: The Islands Development Company (IDC), which looks after the Outer Islands, has called the project a partnership with The Ocean Project Seychelles (TOP) closed, a local NGO, with the Message "Stop and Switch", which campaigns against marine pollution. Organize regular Beach Clean Ups on the Islands, as well as awareness-raising campaigns, most recently "The Last Straw".

IDC has taken on the logistics and TOP developed the methodology for the Clean Ups and data collection. Nearly 40 Volunteers from the IDC and TOP network were called together, including people from the Conservation area, but also Doctors, and on seven of the Outer Islands distributed: Astove, Alphonse, Farquhar, Desroches, Remire, Coetivy and Platte.

#3 | arrival at Astove: How the first impression is your?

Diana: We were overwhelmed on our arrival, total. Only the outbound flight, we had the good fortune on three other Outer Islands between zulanden (Alphonse, Providence and Farquhar), was indescribably beautiful. From the window we have to admire the coral reefs and the incredible colours and countless turtles seen. At Astove, we received a total of warmly by the IDC Team with ice-cold coconut water, and go on a discovery tour of the island.

If you live in the Seychelles, are the Outer Islands of the place that we all dream of, where it is untouched still true, in part, natural paradises and biodiversity. To discover this places an incredible privilege it was for us. From the first impression of the island was like a Paradise, but as we entered the beaches, the garbage problem was immediately clear.

#4 | How was the Beach Clean Up, exactly?

Diana: We have carried out daily in the morning (from 7 am to 11 am) and afternoon (from 15:30 to 18 hours), and Beach Clean Ups at various beaches and in the lagoon on Astove. On the beaches, we installed a 30-Meter-long "Transect". This is a methodology from the Geology, to data is standardized, and to collect in a spatial context. This 30-Meter-long stretch was cleaned by two people.

Our Team was – also depending on the availability of the Teams on the ground – from 7 to 9 people. In addition to Ben and me, a doctor and two soldiers from the military and the IDC-island-Team it was. We have a parallel to the cleansing included also the data of the beaches (coordinates, description of the beach, nature, tide, Wind, etc.). Between the two Cleanups, we brought the garbage to a collection. There we weighed him, categorized (plastic, glass, metal, etc.), and counted. Especially in the plastic, there were more detailed specifications and identifications, that is, between flip-flops, plastic bottles, soft plastic, hard plastic, etc.

The garbage is picked up in the next few weeks, from the Outer Islands and Mahé disposed of, some categories, such as flip-flops are used, for example, for an art project.

#5 | It seems that on the Outer Islands a lot more trash is washed out as on the main Islands. What is the reason?

Ben: The exact reasons I don't know unfortunately, but the Outer Islands do not have the same cleaning measures, such as the Inner Islands, where some of the beaches are almost cleaned daily. Here also the General Public, Hotels and tourists are involved in Clean Ups, making it is generally a little cleaner. Some of the Outer Islands were cleaned in this project for the first Time. In addition, there is, outside the so-called "Mahe plateau," on the main Islands, and many more, currents that would have to be examined more closely, since they could also have an impact.

#6 | What did you find most?

Ben: Overall, we have collected in our time on Astove 2 tons of waste, including very many flip-flops, plastic bottles and plastic particles. Flip-flops and bustle always at the top of the sea surface, making them relatively easy to wash up. And also on the beach they are always above the sand, which makes them easy to find. In addition, we found huge ropes, nets, buoys and FADs, so fish collectors (engl. Fish Aggregation Devices).

“Fish collectors are artificial, floating platforms which are deployed by the fishing fleets on the sea surface. Tuna fish attracted by the FADs instinctively, but also sea turtles and sharks, in the shadow of the main objects of protection fins are looking for, and, not least, young bigeye and yellow tuna. So many sea animals to collect under the FADs. They all end up in the large purse Seine, the fishing boats spread out to the FADs around and eventually move in together. Young bigeye or yellowfin tuna are for the preservation of their overfished stocks elementary.” – Greenpeace (More on the fishing techniques read)

Flip-flops are unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg, because we were able to find in the upper layers of the beaches. Many of the heavier parts, such as metal, are much more deeply buried in the Sand and not immediately visible.

In addition, we found particularly in the lagoon, many of the tooth brushes and lighters, and countless glass bottles of an Asian energy drinks.

#7 | What does this mean? What can you do each and every one of us?

We really been that this is a global Problem. Even if we were able to identify, in part, the origin of some of the parts on the basis of the bar codes – many of the parts came from Indonesia, it is a Problem that affects us all, because plastic garbage is one of the greatest challenges of our time.

"First, tell us plainly, that we are all part of the problem and the solution."