Venetian Activists: Don’t Waste Venice, protecting the lagoon and canals of Venice


American Today News

We’re Gigi Lazzaro and Gregorio who’s here on board, and we’re part of Legambiente Venezia. It’s an organization for the preservation of the environment, that doesn’t look straight for solutions but rather describes the reality through facts by monitoring the situation in the local area and then, together with the population, look for solutions that could solve the problem of environmental damage We’re Francesca and Tiziana of ISPRA, Institute for Research and Environmental Protection, which has an Office in Chioggia, which focuses on the Sea and everything connected to it. We’re here for an European project about litter in the sea, called DeFishGear. This is basically the main project that gave birth to multiple campaigns such as the one we are now working on, which is called Don’t Waste Venice, with which we are monitoring the wastes in Venice Basically, we aren’t just collecting trash, but we are also interested to understanding where the trash is, what kind of trash it is, the composition of what we collect etc.

What is interesting about this project, Don’t Waste Venice, is the fact that it was born through DeFishGear but it grew thanks to the juxtaposition of two different organisations, one being of research, the other being of volunteering, which share a common goal. We had met before at meetings, without ever really understanding how to work together, until we brought up a concrete plan and managed to put together our objectives. We started this project back in June , but our planning had started much before that in order to get to know each other, understand our goals and objectives and find the right way to proceed in our common mission to speak about the environmental damages. Basically it is divided in 2 phases of monitoring and collecting waste, in 2 different periods of the year. This, in order to understand how the waste changes, both the amount and the typology, during different times of the year; therefore during the summer time and during the winter time. What we have observed, is the fact that the biggest part of the waste is made out of plastic. An enormous percentages, around 90% or 87%, of all the trash is made of plastic, and once this plastic has ended up in the lagoon, it fragments in pieces that become smaller and smaller resulting in particles of micro-plastic or nano-plastic, which have the size of few microns and are then absorbed by plancton, entering therefore our food chain, with effects on the living beings that yet have to be understood, with unknown consequences on all the food chain and ultimately on humans.

The more complex reasons are garbage being left in the wrong places; they’re not directly thrown into the canals, but instead they are thrown on the “fondamenta” , so then wind or high tide *** they’re also thrown directly into the canals! :/*** *** That’s the first reason, but there are also others!*** So the first reason is throwing them inside, the second one is dropping garbage on the ground which then ends into the water.

Another reason can be the way the garbage is collected in Venice. Garbage collection is differentiated in town, but it is done by leaving it outside your door, being therefore in the “calli” and exposed for a few hours to rats, seagulls, wind, tide… I would like to add something about cigarette butts. While most people who care about the environment are careful to throw trash in the bin, many many smokers, do not see cigarette butts as garbage and throw them on the floor or in the canals. This is known by whoever has friends who smoke, it happens to us personally too . Well, cigarette butts are a plastic polymer, something synthetic, therefore it is a trash like any other. This is something that should be changed on a global level. We decided to do it because this project is coming to an end, while DeFishGear will go on. It was, **if you disagree you can correct me**, quite appreciated by both our organizations, so we thought that maybe it was worth it to continue this relationship which conjugates research, community action and environment protection.

Unfortunately this has to be done without any help, because as you know, there is always a lack of funds So we told ourselves “Everybody loves Venice, why don’t we ask all these people if they are willing to donate even just 5€ or 10€, whatever a person can afford?” We are aiming for 9.000€ to cover the expenses that are clearly all listed on our website, I.e. hosting volunteers, I mean international volunteers, or fostering social integration. We welcome for 10/15 days people who have peculiar life backgrounds Or just citizens who want to try this experience and discover the city and rather than coming here with a big ship and being a tourist, they come here, still as a tourist, but can do something concrete for a few hours, along with us, and can socialize and have a feeling of community Basically, these are the finalities of our crowdfunding. The project has proven to be positive and has been appreciated, and we hope we can touch that part of the soul of the people sensitive to the care of the environment, of themselves, because not throwing garbage or a cigarette on the ground is indirectly caring about oneself.

Finally coordinating ourself in order to demand and obtain concrete solutions. Give us a helping hand if you can, we’re not asking for much, we’d like a sign, a message. What’s good about the crowdfunding platform is that, should the amount not be reached, the money will be entirely given back to the donators. It is not lost or used for something different, we won’t keep the money, it is a topic we took very seriously. We believe in this campaign, because we would like to start 2016 working even harder, broadening our activity and increasing our possibilities. Collect what you find on the street and don’t throw on the ground what you have in your pockets or hands especially in Venice, but in general in every part of the world and then fund us with Eppela 🙂 I’d suggest that we all start using less plastic, less envelopes, less packaging Because if from below we all refuse to buy goods that have too much packaging, maybe something will change: it is possible to make it. For example by using a canteen rather than plastic bottles.

The less plastic we will make use of, the less plastic will end up in our environment. .

As found on Youtube

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