Mermaid washed ashore on the island of Mljet (Hrvoje Simic/Greenpeace) Mermaid washed ashore on the island of Mljet (Hrvoje Simic/Greenpeace)

Activists and volunteers engaged in clean-up activities on beaches on the on the Adriatic islands of Mljet, Brač, Pag and Šolta and in the city of Split. Besides clean-up activities, participants are inspecting the plastic waste they find washed up on beaches to ascertain which companies are the most culpable for polluting the sea due to the absurd quantities of disposable plastic they produce. Besides Croatia, coastal clean-up activities have been organized in a number of other countries throughout the world, including Spain, France, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“The struggle on Adriatic beaches has been ongoing for years, but despite the extraordinary efforts of volunteers and local residents, it seems as though we are slowly losing this race with time,” stressed Mihaela Bogeljić, the local leader of the Greenpeace campaign.

On the island of Mljet, Greenpeace was joined by the Adriatic “mermaid” Sunčana, who joined the campaign for the struggle against plastic in the sea, advocating clean waters and protection of marine wildlife, which are harmed or even killed when they become entangled in plastic waste. The “mermaid” is actually Sunčana Paro Vidolin, who swims in the sea in a mermaid outfit to draw attention to environmental issues. In this case, she posed for photographs on a beach on Mljet onto which an immense quantity of waste had washed up.

In her plea to the public, Paro Vidolin said, “I come from the depths as the spokeswoman of marine creatures who cannot speak. The Adriatic has always been here for you, the Adriatic Sea has fed you and offered refreshment when the summer’s heat is oppressive. Its blue depths heal your souls. Don’t wait for bottle caps and cigarette butts to replace the sand on the beaches, and the plastic bags to replace seaweed. … I know that we can do better together. Let’s preserve the enchantment of our sea and the life within it.”

Scientists estimate that about 1,455 tons of plastic are currently floating in the Mediterranean, so that it is among the most threatened marine zones in the world. This is what prompted Croatia’s Island Movement to join this campaign.

Greenpeace is calling on all citizens to sign a petition against disposable plastics. Its activists point out that according to one report, at the global level up to 80% of all waste in the sea is made of plastic.

(Source: HRT)