Alina Kunz - President of the Limpiaventura Environmental Association
"We are an association with a global philosophy but we act locally. Our motto is “A clean sea” and this includes the cleaning of beaches, of the seabed, workshops in schools and training courses.
We are meeting Alina Kunz so that she can tell us about the Limpiaventura... Environmental Association. Tell us please, how did this idea come about?
We are an association with a global philosophy but we act locally. Our motto is “A clean sea” and this includes the cleaning of beaches, of the seabed, workshops in schools and training courses. The association consists of five people who work constantly, even if it doesn't show at times, with advertising, organisation, workshops, etc., and then there is the beach cleaning that has become a routine task. Every Sunday, we clean a different beach. In the same manner, as we clean our house, we must clean and maintain the place where we live, in this instance, our island. Many people talk about the island of waste and plastic bags in the Pacific Ocean and of the impossibility to do anything, but we can do a lot from here, from anywhere we are, by avoiding to soil our surroundings, by collaborating with local cleaning campaigns and especially by showing children, so that in the future they are able to do even more than what we are doing. The new generations will have to organise themselves to fix everything we did wrong before in order to be able to keep on living on this planet.
" Curiously, many people have good intentions and ideas, but they don't act and this is what we do because it is only by acting that we stop looking for excuses and we start being useful. "
Do you have volunteers?
There is a group of 64 people who come to clean more or less regularly, plus all the new people who arrive each Sunday, between 1 and 3, sometimes even including some tourists who are passing by. Curiously, many people have good intentions and ideas, but they don't act and this is what we do because it is only by acting that we stop looking for excuses and we start being useful. I think that this frustration of “not doing anything” increases our consumer attitude, it is the fruit of a void. As soon as we start acting, we have an ideal we want to fight for, doing what we can with people who think alike, breaking the barriers and collaborating with people who you wouldn't have met in another context, you feel better. We all like the work we do, even the ones who are less aware agree. We live on an island and, in one way or another, we all live off the tourists who visit the island. This is why we want to have a nice and clean island to show them.
What type of help do you get?
In addition to people who sponsor us, or lend us vehicles, even a lorry (that we fill in one day) and fuel, we have monthly donors, from one euro, and others in more occasional ways.
Is there really that much waste to fill up a lorry in one day?
It is not just cigarette butts or plastics that unconcerned people leave on the beach, most of it comes from the sea. We find tyres, tanks, pieces of rubber of almost 200 kilos, iron tanks, we even need a pulley to manage to get them out.
The good thing is that once someone has gone to clean, they surely are more careful and they share their feeling around them.
It is important for people to understand that we don't have to be environmental extremists, in order to collaborate with the environment, look after the sea and, therefore, the planet. It is about thinking of how we can reduce our impact. After we did our cleaning, some cafeterias changed their straws from plastic to paper for example. Instead of using throw-away plates and glasses we can use reusable ones, etc.
It is incredible how such large waste can be dumped in the sea, although I imagine some will be remains from shipwrecks?
Most waste doesn't come from tourists or beach users, it tends to come from the rivers that go to the sea and bring all the waste that was left there or in the mountains. This is why the actions of groups in the mountains are so important. We went with an S.N.L. group in the Sierra Nevada and we were cleaning with them and we have the same philosophy “actions over words”.
www.limpiaventura.orgFor our readers who would like to collaborate with 1€ per month, the procedure is very easy on http://www.limpiaventura.net/limpiaventura The current account for donations is: Sabadell IBAN ES79 0081 0545 5000 0178 7186 You can also follow them on their webpage www.limpiaventura.org or look for them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.