The underwater cleaning of the Horta Cargo Port, which took place on 26 February, was organised by Portos dos Açores, S.A. (PA) and was supported by the Regional Directorate for Sea Affairs (DRAM). This event was framed in the objectives of projects of the LIFE IP AZORES NATURA (LIFE17 IPE/PT/000010) and OCEANLIT (Interreg MAC), which include environmental awareness actions, among users of the sea and society, for the problem of marine litter.
Having coordinated the waste sorting works, DRAM counted more than one tonne of marine litter, of various categories, including about sixty tyres that were removed from the bottom of the bay. The composition of the collected material was as follows: 43% plastic; 32% rubber (excluding tyres); 13% glass; 9% textiles; and 3% metal.
This underwater cleaning event had the crucial involvement of the diving school “7 Mares”, led by João Ferraria, coordinator of the diving teams, together with the Humanitarian Association of Faial Voluntary Firefighters. The cleaning operation was preceded by reconnaissance dives in the area, during which the areas with the highest incidence of waste were identified.
The event also counted with the important collaboration of the Horta’s City Hall, Environment and Climate Change Services/ Faial Island Nature Park, Capitania of Horta Harbour and Maritime Police, Horta Naval Club, Sea School of the Azores, IMAR/Okeanos, Azorica – Association for the Defense of the Environment, Haliotis, Peter Café Sport, Norberto Diver, SeaExpert and Master Eduardo Santos (who, once again, made available the fishing boat ‘Tatiana’). It should also be noted that all the divers and apneeists involved participated on a voluntary basis.
Sixty-one people participated in this campaign. Once again, it was possible to carry out an underwater cleaning action, with the involvement of all, and thus raise the awareness of users of the sea and the Port of Horta to the problem of marine litter, making them aware, at the same time, for the adoption of good environmental practices in safeguarding the marine environment.
DRAM wishes to thank all entities and voluntary participants who contributed to this event.
With the financial support of the LIFE Programme of the European Union.