Portugal is well-known for its beaches and warm heather, being one of the main tourist destinations in Europe, especially in Summer. Marine litter reduces the quality of the beaches, so there is an effort to maintain their cleanliness even in Summer when hundreds of thousands spend their day on the amazing Portuguese beaches.
Amarsul is a waste management company that belongs to the EGF Group. Is responsible for the waste management in 9 municipalities of the South Lisbon Metropolitan Area, serving more than 780.000 people, treating 447.000 tons and recycling 33.000 tons of waste. They were invited by LP1 – NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University Lisbon to present their experience at the 4th Interregional Learning Event of the CAPonLITTER project, on 2 December 2020.
The campaign ‘Amarsul Eco-Praias’ (Amarsul Eco-Beaches) was created in 2018. This campaign focus on two objectives. On the waste collection side, the aim is to increase the offer of recycling bins and services on the beaches. The campaign also addresses population awareness, by promoting the correct separation of packaging sent for recycling.
On the waste collection side, Amarsul reinforces the collection services on beaches during Summer. They increase the number and size of the recycling bins and the collection frequency. Amarsul also increases the cleaning on the beaches and around the waste containers and works closely with the beach bars and restaurants to easily improve the recycling indicators.
For awareness, Amarsul organizes teams that develop awareness-raising actions. These monitors are in charge of reaching the beach users offering them bags for their waste, collecting waste with their bin-shaped backpacks and asking for the recycling at the beach entrance/exit. They also made action with groups of children from the school-holidays camps. However, in 2020, because of the COVID-19, they only were at the beach entrances offering paper bags for recycling, with no other contact with the users and not reaching people laying on their towels. Obviously, a face mask was mandatory for the team members.
In 2019, Amarsul was present on 33 beaches, during 14 weeks of action. They have reached 91.422 people, 22.700 of them children, from 400 school-holidays camps. On the selective collection, 165 tons of materials were collected for recycling in these beaches, 50 tons of plastic/metal, 80 tons of glass and 35 tons of paper/cardboard.
Last year, the COVID-19 crisis affected this campaign, with the decrease of beach users and the increase in the Amarsul team's safety measures. The objectives were the same, where the only change was the alert of the cautions to have with COVID-19 and its impacts on recycling. In 2020, Amarsul was on 41 beaches from 6 municipalities for 9 weeks. They reached 27.540 people and, because of COVID-19, no children or school-holidays camps. The total waste collected for recycling decreased to 81 tons, 15 tons of plastic/metal, 43 tons of glass and 23 tons of paper/cardboard.
Even with the many uncertainties that society is facing with the pandemic evolution, Amarsul expects to resume their children-focused awareness actions in 2021, namely with the school-holidays camps and improving the overall success indicators compared to 2020.
Check out the video about the 2020 campaign in this link (in Portuguese): https://vimeo.com/441014507
Photos: © AMARSUL/EGF