€1,152.00raised of €10,000.00 goal goal
Help us clean the world…
UPDATED CLEAN-UP STATISTICS here!
Follow the progress through our Instagram!
We are Míša and Jirka, a couple from Czech Republic with a huge passion for taking care of our planet by picking up trash everywhere we go on our travels. Our goal is to mobilize and motivate local people, local NGO’s and fellow travellers to join our efforts and spread the message, but first…
How have we started?
It all began when we lived in Barcelona. We were often coming to the local beach Nova Mar Bella but what bothered us was the amount of trash people were leaving there. Especially the rocks at the breakwater were hiding loads of it. So, we created personal project MJ Aquaholics and decided to act. We took gloves, bags and went cleaning.
As weeks were passing, we started to put more effort into it – bought better bags, better gloves and joined forces with local cleaning group on the main beach, plus started cleaning our beach too. It took weeks and over 200 kg of trash but the beach was clean...not for long though. New trash was appearing every week! We realized that we need to do even more. So, we mobilized our friends and organized several group clean-ups, not only in Spain but in Czech Republic too.
Social media are great tool to spread the awareness about pollution. We run an Instagram account and we use platforms like Couchsurfing and Facebook to get in touch with local people and fellow travellers. Nevertheless, we also think that personal contact is important as well. We do slow travel, which means we try to stay in one place for longer period of time to better understand local communities and to have time to explore polluted areas and subsequently mobilize locals to care more about their surroundings and help us pick up trash. This way, locals can see us cleaning regularly and they start conversations. This also helps to lower environmental impact of travelling and that is connected with our minimalistic lifestyle. Being minimalistic on travels means cooking our food instead of visiting restaurants, avoiding single use plastic, and having simple local accommodation, no expensive touristic hotel.
We traveled through all 8 countries of Central America and managed to organize group cleanups in each country with hundreds of volunteers. You can follow all our efforts via Instagram @mjaquaholics!
Since the beginning of MJ Aquaholics, we collected over 6.5tons of trash but that is just a tiny tiny amount of all trash lying around the world.
Our goals now are going through South America and do the same thing. This time not as MJ Aquaholics but as our own official NGO named EKO Dolan (more at ekodolan.org) and focus not only on the cleanup part but especially on the environmental education. Thus, visiting schools, local organizations, talking with politics, etc. In short, everything we can to improve the current status quo.
Purpose of donations
Gloves, bags, pickers, fruits for volunteers, promotion
All the basics to start cleaning. We cannot travel with all the equipment all the time, so we need some funds to cover costs of gloves, bags, and litter pickers. Every person who joins our cleanup wil walk away with a pair of gloves to motivate her/him to pick up trash in future too. Moreover, it would help us to create signs to promote our clean-ups on spot among locals. In ideal case scenario, our activity will lead tro creation of new cleanup group.
Another plan is to use the funds to buy some fruits as a snack after cleanup to fill the energy tanks as sometimes the cleanups might be tiring.
Basic living costs
The funds would cover our basic living costs which are generally low. Slow travelling has the advantage to save money on accommodation and on transportation too. Plus, our minimalistic lifestyle is very low-cost too. This money would help us travel and clean the world for at least a year, probably even more. Our living expenses are usually around 800 euros per month.
The funds would also be used to motivate our volunteers to travel to more distant places which might require public transportation or car rental, although we would rather go for the first option – again for lower environmental impact. The example could be Cozumel island (Mexico): The Caribbean side is facing loads of plastic being washed on the shore but there is no public transport on that side making it more difficult for people to come and clean it.
Educational talks in schools
I have several years of experience in science communication and there is no den that education is the key. We visit local schools and organizations to give talks about the importance of keeping our planet clean and about plastic in general. We believe that children are the key to change minds of even the most stubborn parents.
So, the donations would cover purchase of equipment for the experiments. To reduce cost and demonstate reusing and recycling, we first do cleanup with kids and then use the picked up trash in the talk and experiments, for example.
Our project is still growing, we are full of ideas. The donations would also help us to be more creative about the cleanup events we organize. To be more visible which could motivate more people to start conversations and join us.
Generally, the best thing you can do is to put on some gloves, take a bag and go pick up few pieces of trash. Take care of your town or your favorite spot. Even though it might not seem like much, every piece counts. Start slow, pick one piece on your way to work or school. You will feel rewarded, satisfied and you surely get some good karma points too. Plus, just by being seen, you can affect others. It is not necessarily about cleaning; it is more about sending out a message. Trash does not respect country borders, so a cup thrown on the ground in Paris can find its way to coast of Mexico. We have only this one planet and we can only properly function here together. So, let’s protect it together!
TOP 10 MOST LITTERED ITEMS IN THE WORLD
About 4.5 trillion cigarette butts end up in the environment every year. This is why we also came up with upcycled pocket ashtray – RESHTRAY. Anyone can do it at home from TetraPak carton and we give it out on the beaches for free. It takes about 20 years for butts to disintegrate. Don’t forget, it is still plastic, so it will only end up as microplastic pollution. Plus, each butt contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, carcinogens and heavy metals, even trace of radioactive polonium!
Food wrappers / Containers
Light and easily carried around by wind. It is difficult to avoid it completely but there are cool swaps for the food containers when you do take out order in restaurant or going for street food like foldable plates or metal boxes.
Very typical find which can be avoided by using reusable, usually metal or glass, bottles and preparing your drink at home. Plastic water bottles can be swapped for water filter system like Sawyer. We use it during travels for 3 years and it has worked without flaw.
Do you have old curtains that you don’t use anymore? Reuse them and make reusable bags for fruits and veggies. About 2 million plastic bags is used every minute around the world! And they are used just once to end up in landfills. Easily avoidable thing.
Caps / Lids
We find them all the time. Again, go for reusable bottles.
Cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons
So many reusable swaps available! The single use plastic options easily break and pollute. Choose bamboo, that is the fastest growing plant on our planet, even meter per day. And it can naturally decompose rather than end up us microplastic over the years.
Straws / Stirrers
Same thing! Go for glass, metal, bamboo or don’t use them at all.
Glass beverage bottles
Glass is such a great material, almost infinitely recyclable but for that it needs to be thrown in the bin and not into environment. This kind of litter is connected with partying outdoors and is usually accompanied by many of the items mentioned above.
Again, aluminium is fantastic material. It can also be recycled over and over again; plus, it’s light as plastic. However, like everything, it must be disposed properly.
Take-out food, supermarket shopping starts more and more include paper rather than plastic which is good but that also means that paper bags got recently into top 10 of the most littered items globally.
- Jiri Dolansky
No updates for this campaign just yet