Tiago Duarte presides over the Association and was one of about 15 volunteers who took part in the refuse collection work on 20 June, which took place at the eastern end of Ria Formosa, next to Cacela Velha.
“It went well, we picked up a lot of garbage, almost 300 kilograms, with incredible things, from a two-meter fibre boat, almost completely buried in the sand, and large dozens of creels, wrapped in 300 metres of rope, which alone weighed more 100 kilograms,” said Tiago Duarte to the Lusa agency.
The same source said that he visited this part of the coast of the Faro district for the first time this year and was “delighted with the village [of Cacela Velha] and with the landscape” of the cliff above the Ria Formosa, but he regretted that it was necessary this group of volunteers travel to the Algarve on purpose to do a job “that the Vila Real de Santo António City Council and the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests do not do”.
"These are materials that have been there for years and we had to come from Lisbon to take that away," said the president of the environmental association, thanking the collaboration of the Junta de Vila Nova de Cacela and the boatmen who cross the estuary to the beach located in barrier island in front of the town of Cacela Velha, a few kilometres from the parish headquarters.
Tiago Duarte acknowledged that the team of volunteers “was unable to clean the whole island, because then there are those microplastics”, but the action made it possible to give an “awareness brushstroke” to the need for authorities responsible for the area to clean it up all year .
“We are going to send a small parcel by mail with a little bit of the garbage that we took to the Mayor of Vila Real de Santo António and to the ICNF, to remember that, despite being there, the garbage does not have to be part of the landscape forever,” announced the same source.
The director of the association Oceanos Sem Plásticos considered that “if everyone does a little bit of their role, especially the authorities”, these areas will have less waste, “especially in the Ria Formosa, which is also part of a Natural Park”.
Tiago Duarte thanked the “support of the boatmen in the logistics to transport the garbage to land” and indicated that “they themselves were impressed with the quantities” of garbage that was removed from the site.
"Not all are the same, but what we see in most municipalities in the country is that they only clean the concession areas, which are a small part of our coastline, and only do it two to three months a year, during the bathing season" , criticized the associative leader.
The same source lamented that, "in the other nine months of the year", cleaning is "very rare" or "practically nonexistent" outside the concession areas.
Asked about participation, Tiago Duarte replied that this was “a symbolic action”, because “in a time of the covid-19 pandemic it was also not advisable to gather many people”
“There was the idea of ??making a huge action on the island for the year. We would like the authorities to give us permission to make an ecological camp, something controlled on the beach, to spend a whole weekend there to keep it clean”, he anticipated.