The bottoms of shame: the Vigo estuary hides 4,150 kilos of garbage

“Cleaning the seabed is a concern that we have had for some time”


“We are very happy with the project. The cleaning of the seabed is a concern that we have had for some time, we had talked about it in the brotherhood because there are areas that are very dirty. We wanted to organize something and this possibility just appeared from the hand of the Consellería. The reception was really good. It is a wonderful idea that appeared at a time when, precisely, we needed it ”, he explains Iago Soto, the greatest patron of the Vigo brotherhood, before noting that he was surprised by the large number of tires that the sea hides, as well as the notable presence of iron elements or wooden plates.

Once the waste has been removed by the participants, it is transported to the Port of Vigo, where, with the help of the Port Authority, the deposit and shipment is made to the authorized company for treatment. Waste is unloaded, weighed and categorized: it is separated into different categories -metals, plastics, wood, rubber, etc.-. “One of the characteristics of the project is that the shellfish farmers remove the trash from the seabed taking advantage of the low tides. We dedicate more than 5 hours to each working day, normally in the morning ”, indicates the senior employer of the Fishermen’s Association of Vigo.

As Soto explains, this formula makes it possible to eliminate waste from the estuary, which, in addition to being polluting and, therefore, dangerous to health, interrupts fishing activities and harms the sector: a cleaner bottom facilitates the reproduction of the shellfish. Through this project, the union, in turn, communicates to society its desire to be part of the solution to a problem that affects all citizens and spreads a strong message to raise awareness.

Material found in the intertidal zone of O Areíño beach.

“It is a project designed to be carried out on weekdays because the idea is that, instead of going to work, we are going to clean the sea and we are compensated: the Department made a calculation of what is earned on average in the sector per day. This is very interesting. In many volunteer projects, you go a couple of times, but you can’t miss so many days of work. With the project “Clean Sea, Living Sea”, we do not seek to earn money, at all, but to contribute to the improvement of the environment and facilitate our work; it is something very useful ”, Soto reflects, while making it clear that It is not about removing garbage from the beaches, as is done in certain volunteer activities, but from the seabed.

A diver transports remains of waste in the subcoastal zone.

Campaign data

Of the 4,156 kilograms of marine litter collected, a significant part, 1,300 kg, corresponded with fishing tackle. The second heaviest material: rubber –553 kg–. And the third: plastic –405.5 kg–. Regarding the number of items collected, the plastics –583 items out of 1,185 in total– stand out; behind, the textile articles –289– and the glass / ceramic –118 elements– are positioned.

Items removed from the olívica estuary in one of the exits.

The campaign continues. On October 22, the shellfishmen of the Fishermen’s Association of Vigo cleaned the intertidal zone of the O Areíño beach. It was the first outing of the second edition of the project “Mar limpo, mar vivo”. They removed plastics – such as a fork – or cans of beer, among other elements, which led the entity to send an awareness message on its social networks: “When you go to the beach, do not forget to carry a bag and collect everything what you find ”.


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