Take 3 for the Sea Ambassador, Dianne McGrath, took time out while in port during the first leg of her round-the-world adventure to help remove cigarette butts from a Spanish beach. Read about her day in Puerto Sherry:
“The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race seeks to be as sustainable as possible. It partners with many organisations and suppliers to have a positive environmental impact. A great example of this is their partnership with Keenat (keeping our nature) in Puerto Sherry, Spain. Keenat specialises in waste management solutions and assisting communities and companies in the development of circular economy projects. While in Puerto Sherry during a brief ‘pit stop’ en route to Punte del Este in Uruguay, crew members from every yacht in the race joined Keenat to learn about the impact that they’re having in recovering and recycling cigarette butts. We then headed out for a cigarette butt-focussed beach clean at Playa de la Murella, a local beach.
Cigarette butts contribute to 40% of litter in the Mediterranean and start 10% of forest fires. Every butt takes 12 years to decompose and can pollute 500 litres of water, leaving 2,500 chemical components in the natural environment. So when the Clipper Race officials asked for volunteers to collect butts from a beach, I jumped at the chance. I was delighted to see how many other race crew turned up to make a difference (as well as spend the morning at one of Puerto Sherry’s beautiful beaches!).
We strolled the beach in small groups for a couple of hours, collecting cigarette butts in paper bags and other litter in tubs. This separation made it easy for Keenat to take the collected cigarette butts away for recycling and energy recovery. When we first arrived at the beach many of us commented on how clean it looked, almost dismayed by the beach combing job local authorities must have done earlier in the morning. However, a few minutes into the beach clean, we noticed that cigarette butts were everywhere. By the end of the morning, we had collected hundreds of butts, creating a small but important impact in our short time in Puerto Sherry. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to learn about the important work Keenat is doing in Europe, and to do my bit to help remove some of the millions of butts that are discarded in the environment each year.”