Last Saturday, our Canary Green Team had the opportunity to take part in a beach cleanup organized by our amazing partner Ecoimplicados, where around 60 people gathered to clean the beautiful beach of El Poris in the west of Tenerife. But if you’re thinking this is just another blog post about a beach cleanup, you’re wrong. This event came with a surprise!
Jane Goodall - an inspiring woman
While we were eagerly collecting trash, a surprise guest arrived at the beach: none other than Jane Goodall! Jane, an English primatologist and anthropologist is a legend in nature and animal conservation. She has made a name for herself as an expert on chimpanzees.
You’ve probably seen that famous video of her hugging a chimpanzee, right? The story behind the video is inspiring. The chimpanzee, named Wounda, had been cared for in the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo after losing her mother to illegal bushmeat trade. Once fully grown, Wounda was set to be released into a sanctuary. It was at that moment of her release that the video captured her expressing gratitude and saying goodbye to Jane, giving her a hug. This is just one of the stories that form Jane’s inspiring life. Coming back to the event, it was a true honor to meet her in person on Saturday.
Roots & Shoots - Raíces & Brotes
While the beach cleanup was organized by Ecoimplicados, other partners were also present, such as the Snorkellocos and a large group from the Roots & Shoots Initiative of the Jane Goodall Institute. Formed in 1977 by Jane herself, the Jane Goodall Institute is a global community-centered conservation organization.
The Roots & Shoots program (in Spanish: Raíces & Brotes) is one of the Institute’s initiatives, consisting of groups worldwide dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment and its inhabitants. There are over 10,000 local Roots & Shoots groups active worldwide. One of these groups participated in the beach cleanup on Saturday. What was inspiring about this group was that it included many children of all ages who actively took part in the cleanup, having fun while learning about ocean and beach waste. Even the little ones sat in the sand with their parents, playfully using sieves to separate plastic from the sand.
A turtle named Goja
With Jane, another surprise guest arrived at the beach: the turtle Goja, named by Jane Goodall herself, was set to be released into the water. Goja came from the Centro de Recuperación de la Fauna Silvestre in La Tahonilla here in Tenerife, where she was nurtured until ready to be released into the wild again. It’s beautiful to see the parallels between Jane Goodall releasing the ape Wounda years ago and now her showing affection for this beautiful sea animal on our island.
Playa Poris and the garbage problem
The beach cleanup in Playa Poris was a success overall. However, it was devastating to witness all the trash on the beach and the cliffs behind it. Even after hours of work, we would never be able to rid this beautiful place of all the rubbish. Plastic cups, fishing nets, empty bottles, and tennis balls are just a few examples of what can be found on the beach.
And it’s not just trash from Tenerife or even the Canary Islands that we collected at Playa Poris; most of the waste reaching the coast travels thousands of kilometers through the ocean before washing up on our beaches. The Canary Islands, which constitute a natural barrier for the Gulf Stream and its downstream branch, act as collectors of marine debris found in the North Atlantic. So, when a plastic bottle is discarded in the ocean in, let’s say, New York City or Porto, there’s a good chance it ends up on the Canary Islands’ coast. Moreover, recent studies show that the beach of Poris is one of the most affected by microplastics because marine currents drag all the waste toward its coast, acting as a huge waste catchment area.
However, the waste doesn’t just affect our beaches; it’s becoming a death sentence for many sea animals. Turtles end up with plastic bags around their necks, and sperm whales are found dead with kilos of garbage in their stomachs. There’s still a huge lack of awareness when it comes to minimizing plastics, correctly separating waste, and understanding the impact discarded fishing nets have on the ocean.
As a closing for this post, we want to thank Ecoimplicados for organizing this amazing beach cleanup. Also, a heartfelt thank you to Jane Goodall for your dedication and work, continuing to inspire us all. Thank you to the Snorkellocos for bringing the underwater perspective to this event and to all the children from Raíces & Brotes for showing that age does not matter when it comes to caring for the environment!
If you want to get involved, here are some tips for your everyday life to prevent more plastic from ending up on the beautiful Poris Beach:
Shop with a reusable bag instead of a plastic one.
Use bar soap instead of liquid hand soap.
When going for a picnic, eat off conventional tableware instead of disposable ones.
Do not use drinking straws.
And, if plastic is used, separate it when recycling (in the yellow bin)
Beach Clean ups
Scientist | Conservationist | Peacemaker | Mentor
Thank you to everyone involved in this Canary Green project where our aim is to help promote sustainable tourism in the Canary Islands.
Do you want us to find you more sustainable choices? Please support us and donate today.
- Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute
- Raíces & Brotes Instituto Jane Goodall
- John Dale Beckley; Founder of Canary Green non profit
- Jette Beyer, Sustainable Hotels and Tourism Development Manager
- The Canary Green Team: Selina Bonilla, Valeria Luciani, Anastasia Rosca, Vincent Seidensticker
- Our amazing Sponsors Solectivo
- In cooperation with Canary PR, Tenerife Magazine