Save The Med’s popular education programme “Dos Manos” invites students to explore the issue of plastic pollution in the marine environment and the effect this has on our marine life and ourselves through activities in the classroom and on the beaches.
Together with STM’s education team, students learn about marine wildlife, the impact of pollution, the connectivity between our behaviour and the marine environment and our responsibility for it. The programme includes an excursion to conduct a Dos Manos beach clean-up and scientific survey, analyse results and discuss possible solutions to local problems.
But it doesn’t stop there. Through debates, critical thinking and first hand investigation, the students gain a deeper understanding of the source of plastic pollution and its solutions while simultaneously collecting valuable scientific data which is shared with scientists, conversationists and policy makers.
The collected items are separated into categories, counted, weighed and data recorded in specific forms before being disposed of in the appropriate containers.
Regular collection of data from local beaches over long periods enables the Save The Med team to better understand and solve local problems caused by plastic pollution.
This knowledge can be used to create targeted campaigns, public service announcements and science-based multimedia that helps bring feasible solutions closer to the community, facilitating a transition towards a single-use-plastic-free lifestyle.
In addition, Save The Med continuously shares the obtained data from the organisation’s projects with the public, with collaborating NGOs and authorities.
For example, the plastic pollution data from the Dos Manos project is regularly shared with experts at OceanCare, a Swiss NGO that work towards a legally binding, global plastic treaty and regularly use information provided by grassroots NGOs in meetings at European level to help improve policies.
Data and samples of microplastics from beaches in Mallorca were also shared at request with the devoted team at Good Karma Project who are working to investigate the issues of, and hold industry accountable for, a huge pellet spill nearby La Pineda beach in 2018, which covered the whole beach in plastic pre-production pellets (also called nurdles).
Similar spills have been observed in the area for decades. To date, big amounts of nurdles keep washing up on the beach on a daily basis. Given the movements of sea currents, it is not unlikely that nurdles from the same spill also reach the Balearic Islands.
“By building bridges between students, local communities, NGOs, stakeholders and policy makers through examples like these and by working together at all levels to gather and openly share data, we can obtain knowledge and achieve change much more efficiently.” - Mari Gutic, Head of Education and Outreach at Save The Med Foundation.
But we can’t wait for policy change to make a real change! That’s why as part of the programme, students are encouraged to reflect on how we can replace or re-use plastic to limit its demand in our everyday life and invited to take action by participating in the Changemakers Project during which they develop innovative solutions and awareness campaigns to help reduce the use of plastic in their households, schools and local communities.
“It’s an amazing experience and an opportunity to change as a person and make a difference for the environment!” - Paula, Thalassa Team, Queens College.
Thanks to the support of our Funders and Corporate Partners, both the Dos Manos schools programme and the Changemakers Project are offered free of charge to all schools, however spots are limited. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and sign ups!
A heartfelt thank you to the Ocean Family Foundation, Fundación Jesús Serra, European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), OceanCare, La Caixa Bank via Fundación La Caixa and our Corporate Partners who all contribute to the co-funding of Save The Med’s education and awareness programmes.