The iBi Foundation are giving back to Mother Nature and cleaning the seas around Ibiza.
A few years ago I sat at one of my favourite beaches and watched as a mother and her young daughter cleaned plastic and used cigarette butts from the sand. It struck me as I remembered clearly picking shells and stones from the beach as a child, with my mother and grandmother, and I recognised in this moment how much had changed since then. I was always pretty conscious of picking up large pieces of rubbish when enjoying the outdoors, but this one simple observation made me see the truth of what’s happening – and we humans are causing it.
I live on an island (Ibiza) and especially after storms, the beaches are covered in plastic. I regularly litter pick and after a storm I find everything from tiny plastic balls, to straws, tampon applicators, lolly sticks, toys, bottles and bottle tops, fishing wire, rope, non descriptive small plastic pieces and so much more.
Recently I learned of a vital and whole hearted initiative started by Dutch couple, Ed and Joke. The iBi Foundation was born after they found a struggling sea turtle caught in plastic, just off the Ibiza coast. They managed to free the turtle and from that moment on, their not for profit iBi Foundation started to collect plastics around the waters of Ibiza, by using 100% emission free solar powered catamarans and a small scoop net. You can learn of their journey here.
They go out tirelessly every day in the summer and five days a week in winter, to do this work, and invite volunteers to help them. The system itself covers an area of 22.224 m2 every hour, which is a total of 3.11 football fields per hour. The filters work at 0.5m below the surface, collecting plastic sized from 2 cm and to a maximum of the width of the boat. This ensures that larger debris such as industrial plastic waste can also be collected.
When I asked Ed what his usual findings are on a day out, he told me that it depends on where the wind comes from and that it could range from tiny see-through plastic wrapping (the most common), to a fridge door, to a vespa motorcycle helmet! They have a deal with the local council in Ibiza and give them the plastic waste to be distributed to the correct places. You can tell when speaking with him that he is truly passionate about cleaning the waters and finding the best and most ecological way to do it.
Currently, around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans (larger than France and Spain combined) and work like the iBi Foundation shows that with an idea and the energy to make it happen, we can all make a change. And if you can’t get on the iBi boat yourself, simply go down to your local beach and start picking up the plastic and recycle or up-cycle it – it’s actually pretty therapeutic!
You can also support their work by purchasing their sustainable children’s clothing, with €5 of every purchase going towards the work of the iBi Foundation.
As the front page of their website asks ‘Are you doing your part?’ – I am trying. We all have to become more conscious and look at our own plastic usage and what we do with it. We are on this earth at a great time of change and it is all of our responsibilities to give back – no matter how big or small.
To find out more, check: https://ibifoundation.nl