Doing research, cleaning up beaches and sea bottoms, disseminating information and organising awareness raising moments for young and old alike, to underscore the importance of reducing the consumption of the single-use plastic disposables that are invading our oceans: these are the activities that characterised the Italian journey of Blue Panda, the WWF sailing boat that travelled across the Mediterranean sea, from France to Turkey, from Greece to Tunisia, carrying the message against plastic pollution of the environment.
Blue Panda set sail on 29 May from the French port of Toulon and November will see the conclusion of her 8 thousand miles long tour. The aim of this itinerary was to get across the voice of the “Custodians of the Mediterranean”, by undertaking scientific research activities and raising awareness among local communities and tourists of the importance of the marine heritage that needs protecting from plastic pollution and oil drilling.
Blue Panda’s adventure began in June, with three weeks dedicated to collecting scientific data in the Pelagos Sanctuary, the marine protected area created for the protection of cetaceans. During the course of the following months, Blue Panda sailed along the coasts of Italy, France, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco, and reached some of the main tourist cities, including Porto Santo Stefano, Nice, Marseilles, Istanbul, Tunis and Tangiers, informing and mobilising people of all ages.
During the Italian leg of the journey, from 3 to 7 July, the boat stopped at Argentario (Tuscany), where a 30-hour programme of lessons held by experts specialising in environmental education was attended by over 550 children. 100 big waste bags were filled during 4 sea bed cleaning operations carried out by 80 divers, while 1000 tourists (‘volunteers for a day’) removed debris from the coves and small beaches of the promontory, filling 460 bags at 12 different locations.
The Blue Panda expedition strengthened the activities of the WWF to ensure a future for our Mediterranean sea, one of the WWF’s top priority areas. EUROJERSEY stands by WWF Italy and its programs for the protection of our seas and waters, and supports the SafeSharks project undertaken by the WWF with the aim of safeguarding the future of sharks in the Mediterranean.