Fishing for Litter marks 25 tons of waste removed from Guanabara Bay in ‘Clean Bay’ celebration

BVRio’s Fishing For Litter project team gathered in Guanabara Bay with Ocyan’s ‘Clean Bay’ campaign team for an event this Tueday (16 Jan) to celebrate the successful collection of over 25 tons of solid waste from the bay ahead of schedule. The event also aimed to introduce the initiative to two other companies, a chamber of commerce, and social actors already active in the region.

“We gathered to celebrate the milestone of 25 tons of waste collected in three months of Clean Bay’s campaign work. This is a moment of celebration and interaction with other market players who may join our efforts, creating a network for the benefit of Guanabara Bay, either by expanding the project or by associating with other initiatives to complement it.” Commented André Luiz Barros, Communication and Social Responsibility Manager at Ocyan.

During the field visit, the teams collaborated with fishers on the beach to experience the entire process, from collection and separation to weighing and recording waste. This process is facilitated through the KOLEKT app, allowing verification and certification in compliance with current regulations. The team’s work with the fishers resulted in 1273 kg of waste collection that morning. “This direct exchange with the fishers is crucial because they are the protagonists of this action. It is because of them that the project becomes viable. It is a combination of environmental and climate proactivity and local and human development.” Stated André Luiz Barros.

“Going with the fishers to collect waste in areas where there is no public cleaning is essential for us to understand the magnitude of the problem. In a 20m beach area, we found a bit of everything: bags, bottles, various plastic items, as unfortunately expected. However, we also found dolls, toy cars, balls, box springs, water tank lids, syringes, clothes, etc. The rivers carry all of this to Guanabara Bay until it is deposited on this beach.” Commented Pedro Succar, BVRio circular economy specialist.

Among the main materials found in the 25 tons removed from Guanabara Bay in just three months, there was nearly 10 tons of plastic bags, 5 tons of foam, 5 tons of backpacks and clothing, 1.5 tons of rigid plastics, and over 1 ton of glass bottle.

Since its launch, the Clean Bay campaign has achieved significant results in cleaning Guanabara Bay, contributing to the maintenance and preservation of the local flora and fauna and increasing the income of fishers involved in the waste collection. This stream of BVRio’s Fishing for Litter ‘Clean Bay’ campaign involves 20 fishers from two traditional colonies in Caju and Ilha do Governador dedicating two days a week to ‘fishing’ for waste, with the goal of removing 100 tons from Guanabara Bay by October 2024.

Ester Bayerl, Coordinator of Socioenvironmental Responsibility, Diversity, and Inclusion at Ocyan, stated that the visit “underscores the importance of considering actions that address, from different perspectives, the SDGs, especially regarding the valorisation of traditional knowledge and its importance in mapping and identifying changes in biomes. A beautiful project that is well worth knowing and participating in, mainly because there is still a challenge for us to solve in our generation: how and when will we remove the waste dumped in Guanabara Bay?”

Accumulated total for the first three months of the Clean Bay campaign operation:

Material collected

Weight (kg)                % of total collected
Plastic bags 9.941,71 kg 40%
Foam 5.619,97 kg 23%
Backpacks, bags, and clothing 5.037,33 kg 20%
Recyclable plastic 1.568,94 kg 6%
Glass 1.088,17 kg 4%
Flip-flops and sneakers 801,36 kg 3%
Electronics 100,21kg 1%
Rubber 68kg 0,27%
Metals 10,48kg 0,04%