Cleaning the Adriatic, One Bag at a Time: Join the BlueBag Initiative
In love with your Adriatic holiday? Why not put something back on your next visit with 10 minutes of your time by joining the BlueBag campaign to clean up the beaches and waters which are a paradise for millions?
I met a wonderfully inspirational man of the sea called Vlatko last month, whose dedication to the Adriatic left me a little embarrassed to admit that I had a sailing website.
For dedication, read passion, someone who not only knows every inch of Croatia’s spectacular coastline and islands, but has filmed it all as well. His knowledge was astounding.
And so was his passion.
As the wind howled on the top deck of the boat on our return from Kornati to Murter, he turned his attention to the environment and cleaning up the Adriatic.
“We have a project,” he said, before fishing into one of the pockets of his waterproof jacket. In the same way that one might fish out some sweets for a child, he pulled up a little gift for me. It was the small package you see above. A small card packet with information about the project, and a blue bag inside. BlueBag – The Project.
Breathtakingly simple. Make a campaign to clean up the Adriatic, find local partners to support and offer distribution points, and encourage everyone who loves the sea – from sailors to sun-worshippers, to take 10-15 minutes from their enjoyment of Paradise, and give something back. Full up one blue bag with trash from the sea or beach, and dispose of it.Apart from improving things for those who come after you, you have the added karma of enjoying a deserted beach which was strewn with trash washed ashore before you arrived.
After living many years on a Dalmatian island, and having spoken to and corresponded with countless tourists and longterm visitors, it is clear how much love so many people have for this outstanding part of the planet. It is clear to me too that, given a simple opportunity to put something back and to preserve the cleanliness and magnificence of this natural treasure, many would do so.
What is there was a national campaign along the coast to raise awareness and the availability of the initiative, where people posted videos of their cleanups to motivate others?
Simple collection points built into the existing tourist infrastructure – bars, restaurants and sailing companies?
What is sailing companies highlighted the initiative in their itineraries? Apart from adding to any eco credentials, it could prove a popular way for people to give back, and feel happy to have played their small role in preserving the region’s beauty? Simple ideas such as a hotel offering a free drink in exchange for a guest posting a selfie with a filled BlueBag of trash.
A wonderful educational opportunity for the little ones, to teach them to respect and look after Mother Nature.
As you can see from the BlueBag website, the initiative has already taken hold in certain parts of the coast, notably on the island of Krk, as well as some private tour operators – Sunsail and Huckfinn in Dubrovnik, but what if that small start could be extended along the coast, in time for preparations for next season?
It was wonderful to meet Vlatko. I commended him on his project and asked him if he had a couple more packages I could take home with me.
He opened his pocket once more. It felt like he was about to give me those sweets, but what he handed over was far more precious.