Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Volunteers clean up beaches

300 plastic plates, 1000 aluminium cans, 4000 glass bottles, 1000 bank notes and phone cards, 300 plastic containers, and innumerable newspapers, magazines and cigarette butts were picked up from my favourite beach on the Ionian Sea last year. A sign displays the booty under a headline saying ‘La spiaggia libera รจ sempre meno libera’, highlighting the fact that free beaches are drowning in waste and encouraging the public to leave the beaches clean.

As usual Legambiente organized a nationwide beach cleaning during the last weekend of May. In 48 hours volunteers collected 50 tonnes of waste including mountains of old household appliances, lost cellular phones, used sanitary towels, building material and tires. The press release does not mention uncovered treasures, but the sand normally hides an assortment of jewelry, engagement rings, coins and other valuables. Still, I doubt the excitement of the treasure hunt can compensate for the hard work of removing other people’s garbage left along Italy’s 7.375 km coastline.

From this point of view the state of Italian beaches at the start of the season seems downright amazing. Every spring I am ready to despair over the filth and mess left behind on the beaches by summer outings and winter storms, but come June the sand is completely clean, white and inviting.

Thanks to the volunteers.

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