When you ask someone why they choose Croatia for their vacation, a widespread answer is because of its beauty and clean sea. And indeed, the Adriatic Sea is one of the most beautiful natural environments in Europe. It is part of the Mediterranean Sea, a rather shallow and warm sea. It is known for its indented coastline, with more than one thousand islands and beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. Whoever comes to Croatia for the first time will be delighted with its beauty, and that's the reason many return back every year. However, in order to remain a perfect small paradise for visitors, every year the cleaning and maintenance of beaches and seaside in Croatia become a real challenge!
In addition to a large number of inhabitants living along the Adriatic Sea, and in some ways living right from the sea, it is essential to point out that the Adriatic Sea is home to more than 7000 different plant and animal species. In a vibrant underwater life, various species of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and mammals have settled. But within the years, because of massive number of people who visit the Adriatic Sea, different winds and currents, flora and fauna of the Adriatic Sea are not the only ones living its sea floor. Unfortunately, mostly along the larger coastal cities, on the seafloor, lots of car tires, old bicycles, glass and plastic bottles, clothing, footwear, but also smaller items such as combs, empty cosmetic packagings, ear sticks, plastic plugs can be found.
A significant problem is the microplastic that has been created by the decomposition of plastic waste for decades in the sea. Today, it is regularly and unpurposely eaten by animals living in the sea. This way the same microplastic will be found in your plate and body too! Enjoy a rich gastronomic offer of Mediterranean food without microplastic! Beware, what you throw into the sea can end up in your plate too!
Of course, there is a 'praiseworthy' side in every story. In this case merit goes to the organisations which are working on cleaning of the sea and are committed to spreading awareness about the conservation of the Adriatic Sea. Some of them are:
'Green Sail' - organisation that raises environmental awareness on the Croatian coast. Their business is reflected in cooperation with marinas and charter companies in Croatia through which they educate locals and tourists about the conservation of the marine life and sea environment. Our charter company is one of the proud associates of this valuable organisation.
'Greenpeace' - global organisation operating in Croatia since 2012. Their main task is to run campaigns against the destruction of the environment and to protect plants and animals. They are campaigning against plastic, but also against climate pollution and fossil fuel combustion. They participate in the protection of the Adriatic Sea through many cleaning and cooperation activities with caterers at 'Plastic-free' festivals.
'Blue Bag' - eco-tourism program designed for boaters, tourists and all nature lovers who want to participate in the voluntary cleaning of the Adriatic coast. The first 'Blue Bag' on the Croatian coast appeared on the island Krk. The Blue Bag campaign aims to collect at least one bag of waste per person during the season. Tourists, as well as locals, thus provide themselves and others with clean beaches on which they spend their summer days, and show their environmental awareness and care for the environment.
Although the Adriatic Sea and its beaches are cleaned regularly, mainly before and after the tourist season, the amount of garbage generated in the sea becomes too big for small organisations and volunteers to clean it up. Therefore, there is an increasing awareness of marine conservation in each individual. Every resident, visitor or tourist can and should take part in protecting the environment on any way.
How can a sailor in Croatia participate in reducing the marine pollution?
1. Do not throw any trash into the sea, even if you think it's harmless, like a stray fishing hook or line, or something small like a used piece of chewing gum or a cigarette butt. There are places for waste in every marina and on every beach, so put it there.
2. Reduce the use of disposable plastic! Bring a canvas bag with you to reduce disposable use, reduce personal use of plastic bottles and try to replace disposable plastic straws with glass, bamboo or paper ones.
3. If you see trash in the sea or on the beach, pick it up and put it in the nearest trash bin!
4. Use showers and laundry facilities in marinas for less marine pollution with cosmetics and laundry detergents!
5. Encourage those around you to be similarly mindful, and take proactive measures to ensure garbage and recycling bins are onboard during your trip.
Besides before mentioned organisations, we have to say that there is a significant number of individual volunteers who participate in beach cleanups in Croatia, such as diver volunteers who pull out pounds of sacks full of various waste from the sea bottom. Those people play a vital role in protecting our environment, no matter if they are part of some organisation or are just tourists who have taken half an hour of their time to clean a piece of shore or underwater.
When it comes to environmental protection, one great example that is worth mentioning here is the island of Zlarin. Zlarin is the first plastic-free Croatian island. They have eliminated all single-use plastic items such as plastic bags, cups, plates, cutlery and straws from usage. The project is supported by all the restaurants, cafes and shops on the island and also by the locals. It's a great initiative to keep 'Coral Island' alive.
In the end, it's important to realize that it's not enough just to enjoy our seas —we also have to keep them clean and actively protect them. Share this blog on your social media profiles, get your family and friends involved in the environmental cleanups, and follow the tips above! Being an individual looking to make a difference, you will significantly contribute to environmental protection!