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  • Writer's pictureBrina

With love for the environment

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

A few days ago we experienced thunderstorms with heavy rains, and strong winds here on Šipan, just as whole southern Dalmatia did. Croatia has been impacted by the heavy storm system coming from the north towards us and Italy in the past couple of days. In the capital Zagreb the heavy rains and the strong winds that managed to down trees and caused power cuts are still continuing.

This untypical weather is associated with the winter time here on Šipan. Then, it never gets dramatically cold, but the strong cold winds and the heavy rains are usual for that time of the year.

Climate change is a fact, and our planet definitely holds for us many more future surprises with the weather that we will experience with time. Many of us have already become very outspoken, demanding politicians to start taking serious actions towards protecting our environment from disasters. The general population is becoming increasingly aware of the negative effects from global pollution, and from the systematic destruction of ecosystems for corporate profits.

Here is a story about the impact on our small island as part of the global ecosystem, and what we do to protect it.

After each storm the sea brings so much plastic that it covers all the small gulfs on the shores of Šipan. The government and the city of Dubrovnik are taking pollution seriously and invest a lot in cleaning technologies and activities. The shores of the mainland and of the numerous islands are regularly cleaned and beaches are well maintained. Nevertheless, it is hard to keep up with the level of global pollution that humanity produces, along with the different levels of environmental protection that vary by country.

Today was a beautiful day on Šipan and I took a walk along the shore. I saw that once again our shores were badly polluted after the heavy storm, and decided to collect as much plastic as I possibly could. I focused on the microplastics which is so challenging to collect, but is very dangerous, causing the death of many birds and fish after they confuse it for food and swallow it. That of course didn't mean that I would leave behind the bigger peaces, so I ambitiously collected everything.

Cigarette buds are everywhere, there is so much of them! They are a toxic waste, and are not biodegradable. I wish that people who throw them away just like that were made to collect that rubbish afterwards. Once it's thrown into the sea or anywhere else in nature, it disappears only from our sight, not from the world we live in.

And then there are those little straws that come in all possible colours. They are everywhere! Looking forward to that EU ban on small single use plastic products in 2021.

I had a company I worked with. Our neighbor Ćiro is in charge of the cleanliness on Suđurađ, and he was having a very busy day, too. Ćiro's job is to make sure that the public spaces on Suđurađ are maintained clean, so he always has a lot of work every time a storm has passed over Šipan. Together we cleaned the beach of Suđurađ, and left some hardly accessible spots for the big machines that will come later this month.

Ćiro at work, and then kindly smiling for the camera.

Me, happily posing with my first bag of collected plastic.

I was happy to learn from Ćiro that there will be an independently organized local cleaning event on Suđurađ at the end of the month. I most probably won't be able to join, but it's nice to feel that there are more people out there who care, and so everybody is contributing to our beautiful island's protection, and to our common better future.

What a wonderful ending of today's cleaning initiative! I went on to collect more microplastics on Suđurađ, and then there was Anđelka who is always nice to chat to. So while we were chatting and both collecting plastics, three children came up to us and started collecting, too. And then their parents joined, and then this lady approached Anđelka and they talked about the environment, and she helped us, too. It was an extraordinary experience of doing something good and feeling the support and care of other people who took action, too. It was such a pleasure talking to them all, while together helping our beautiful planet.

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