limpeza sesimbra 2023

Underwater cleaning campaign supported by EDP breaks a new world record

Tuesday 30, May 2023
  • The cleaning campaign that took place off the coast of Sesimbra last weekend brought together 842 divers in 24 hours, a new world record.
  • In total, nearly seven tonnes of waste were collected.
  • After Sesimbra, EDP extends support to clean-up campaign in Spain promoted by Libera Project

Sesimbra was once again a meeting point for hundreds of divers from all over the world who share the passion for the ocean and who get involved in the protection of its ecosystems. For 24 hours, between 27 and 28 May, 842 certified divers mobilised for a clean-up action in that area of the Portuguese coast, thus achieving a new Guinness World Record in number of participants - the previous record, achieved in 2019, in Florida (USA), was 633 divers.

The underwater cleaning initiative - promoted by the Oceanum Liberandum NGO and supported by EDP - made it possible to collect around seven tonnes of waste from the bottom of the sea, including plastic and glass bottles, textiles, fishing lines, cables and traps, or packets of cigarettes. Some of these items, such as fishing traps in good condition, were returned to the fishermen for reuse, thus strengthening the partnership between the diving community and local fishing professionals.

In addition to these more common items, other more unusual ones were also found, such as Portuguese flags, a refrigerator door, a boat still with engine, a fire extinguisher and even an explosive device that the Portuguese Navy rescued to neutralize in a safe area.

This was the second edition of this clean-up campaign, after the success of the first initiative in September last year. Once again, it was possible to count on the involvement of close to 100 volunteers, including several EDP employees, who played a fundamental role in collecting and sorting the rubbish removed from the seabed. A support that reinforced the work of organizations such as Oceano Azul and Movimento Claro, and Ghost Diving, which collected part of the rubbish that Fabrica4U will use to produce recycled furniture pieces.

Besides the record with the number of divers, the clean-up campaign broke a second record: it managed to form the largest sentence written with recyclable materials (at the Sesimbra Camping Park) with 5,253 pieces - the minimum of pieces defined by the Guinness World of Records was 5,000 pieces.

Oceanum Liberandum - which has the support of EDP and other entities, such as Sesimbra City Council, the Blue Ocean Foundation, Seiko and several diving centres from north to south - thus fulfils its mission of alerting to the problems facing the oceans and raising awareness of the urgency of protecting marine life. With this initiative on the coast of Sesimbra, the association not only mobilises hundreds of people in a sporting, sustainable and environmental cause, but also demonstrates that this waste can have a second life beyond the landfill as its final destination. It is a commitment that EDP reinforces by joining this initiative since 2022, with the aim of supporting the preservation of the oceans and raising awareness of the importance of keeping marine ecosystems pollution-free.

Extend the campaign to the Iberian Peninsula

To the clean-up action in Sesimbra, EDP now adds its sponsorship of a clean-up campaign in Spain promoted by the Libera Project - "1m2 against litter" - thus giving an Iberian dimension to its goal of mobilising and raising awareness of the need to protect the ocean and marine ecosystems.

This underwater clean-up action planned for next Saturday, 3 June, in about 40 points along the Spanish coast, thus once again challenges all sectors of society to join the great clean-up action on beaches and rivers. In this way, they also hope to reinforce the message about the urgency of protecting nature and promoting biodiversity.

On the verge of a summer that is expected to be one of the hottest and driest ever, it becomes even more necessary to rid natural spaces of waste. In this context, the Libera Project (created by SEO/BirdLife in alliance with Ecoembes), once again encourages civil society to join in this common mission - the so-called "Liberators".

This clean-up action on the Spanish coast is part of a wider Libera clean-up campaign involving the collaboration of 570 municipalities in the neighbouring country - united in the mission #MiPuebloSinBasuraleza ("my village without litter"), which aims to protect the natural heritage of each region - and the bodies that manage 297 natural spaces and parks in Spain. To learn more about this project, visit the Libera project website.