The weather was on our side on this end of summer. By the time we arrived at the meeting point, the sun was already warming our still sleepy minds. Around 9.30, just after meeting Špela, Uroš and Andreja – the organizers of the event – we were split into 3 groups. While one volunteer stayed on the spot to help with the organization and to prepare his DJ set, the rest of us were getting ready for the serious business: cleaning the coast.
The Slovenian littoral is around 47km long. That is very short but a huge amount in the same time when the task consists of cleaning it. Of course, we didn’t take care of the whole shore – our part wasn’t even a full kilometre. But as we were driving to our assigned spot, the layman I was couldn’t retain his curiosity about the kind of items we were about to find.
So our environmental adventure began. For 2 hours, we picked up common items such as cigarette butts, plastic bottles or, even more frequent, fishing nets. More surprisingly we even found a dinghy, an inflatable boat that was left there, behind rocks on this remoted part of the littoral. The work consisted then of spotting the objects’ brand, thus proving that the beach pollution isn’t only a matter of what the waves are dropping on the coast but also engage the responsibility of the local community.
Half-a-dozen plastic bags filled and an interview for Radio Koper later, we hit the road again. Back to the departure point where our fellow cleaning groups started to come back one by one. While our Italian DJ was juggling between his set and some musical requests from his audience, we enjoyed the taste of a well-deserved lunch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get involved in the workshops that took place in the nearby stalls afterwards – our Slovene still being not quite fluent.
Nevertheless, this Čista Obala experience was a success to me, and not only for its beneficial properties on the environment. As a group of foreign volunteers living in Slovenia for more or less 6 months, we’ve had the opportunity to really do something helpful for the local community. That’s what EVS is also about. Furthermore, showing involvement even though we only arrived recently in the area and being able to speak about it in a local media is a good way to promote volunteering and participation at a local scale. You don’t need to be an expert of social, environmental matters or to be born and raised in the local community to be active.
Find more information about the action Čista obala here.