2403 UPV ocean protectionThe University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) teamed up with an NGO to address the problem of marine litter. In joint activities involving the entire university community they collected waste and contributed to water pollution awareness and research.

The University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) has always been closely linked to life at sea. It has been so throughout history through its nautical studies, and it continues to be so through the study of marine conditions, the fight against pollution or the exploitation of the natural resources of the oceans in a rational and sustainable way. The strategy EHUagenda 2030 for sustainable development outlines – along with other priorities – sustainability as a basic criterion in the use of the seas, oceans and marine resources.

The NGO Surfrider – founded by a group of surfers who wanted to protect their environment – has in its DNA the mobilization of citizens for the protection of the ocean and coastline. It works in three specific areas in which the organization has acquired recognized expertise over the last 30 years: marine litter, water quality, coastal development and climate change.

In order to encourage the university community to take action and raise public awareness of the problem of marine litter, a collaborative action was launched between the two institutions in the first semester of 2023, combining theory and practice. On the one hand, an informative talk was held to raise awareness of the different citizen science programs in which the NGO Surfrider participates. On the other hand, a collection of marine litter has been organized on Gorrondatxe beach (Getxo, Biscay) with the participation of people from the university community (faculty, administration staff and students) and coordinated by Surfider staff. The aim of this activity was to collect waste and contribute to water pollution awareness and research.

The data collected by volunteers provides crucial information on plastic pollution and it could be used as valuable evidence to urge policy makers to take action to reduce plastic production and prevent it from reaching the seas and oceans.