Pair of Year 8 French Lycée students enjoy a one-day expedition aboard a historic sailing ship with a team of marine biologists
Ibiza, 01-07-2022 – The first youngsters to be selected in the environmental contest “Kilometres of Plastic for Iris” are already enjoying their prize: a day trip accompanied by marine biologists from the Alnitak Research Institute aboard an authentic historic sailboat, the Toftevaag, which left the port of San Antonio this Friday morning.
Melissa Croitoru and Lou Muntadas, from the equivalent of Year 8 at the French Lycée in Ibiza, won the Junior category of this Balearic-wide contest, which is promoted by IbizaPreservation and its sister foundations in Mallorca and Menorca in memory of Iris, daughter of Ben Goldsmith, the co-founder of the three organisations.
Iris Goldsmith , a young environmentalist, died in a tragic accident in 2019 at the age of 15. Kilometres of Plastic for Iris aims to recognise and involve young people in the protection of the environment and the conservation of the Mediterranean in her name.
The initiative, which is organised with the support of the environmental movement 0 Plastic, invited young people in secondary school, sixth form and those in basic and intermediate vocational training from the four islands to become so-called “0 Plastic Warriors”, covering 10,000 km against plastic pollution through nature excursions with friends and family. In addition, they were offered the opportunity to enter a contest for a video of less than a minute answering the question: “What would you do to fight plastic pollution on your island?”
In the end, it was a pair from Ibiza, Croitoru and Muntadas, who were selected as the overall winners of the Balearic Islands in the Junior category. These young women produced a video where they proposed creating a chain of supermarkets selling products in bulk, where consumers would have to bring reusable containers to avoid generating waste. The winning idea also suggested competitions and other activities to bring in customers, rewarding them with discounts in their stores.
“We are very pleased with the high participation in this competition. It shows us that there are many young people in Ibiza and Formentera who are interested and want to get involved in conservation and environmental regeneration,” said the director of IbizaPreservation, Inma Saranova.
Saranova also took the opportunity to congratulate all the participants for their ideas and especially the winners, saying, “We know that the youngest in our society have some very good ideas and we hope that these will be the seeds for building a better future for our islands.”
Meanwhile, on the 9th of July, the six winners of the main category (Years 10 to 13 and those in vocational training programmes) will embark on an 11-day expedition in the waters of the Cabrera Archipelago National Maritime-Terrestrial Park.
Following this morning’s press conference, the two students from Ibiza departed from the port of San Antonio to spend a day exploring the deep waters to the north of the island. Ricardo Sagarminaga van Buiten from the Alnitak team explained that this year the Toftevaag expeditions, “have a special focus on the problem of marine litter, and in particular on ghost fishing. According to Greenpeace, each year more than 12 million tonnes of plastics are dumped into the oceans, of which 70% are nets and lost or abandoned fishing gear.”
“Ghost fishing constitutes a threat both to marine fauna and to sustainable fishing and navigation. During their days aboard the Toftevaag, the students will participate in the reporting and removal of ghost fishing equipment and the rescue of entangled turtles,” added Sagarminaga.
Meanwhile, 0 Plastic emphasised the power of young people as “a great network of influence that can drive change. The 0 Plastic Warriors act as role models for their peers, drawing attention to the problem of plastic on our islands and proposing concrete solutions for reducing plastic pollution,” concluded the co-founder, Alba Carbonell.