A Successful Fresh-Water Cleanup at Guadiela River: Uniting for Environmental Impact

On June 2, 2024, a dedicated group of 38 volunteers braved the chilly waters of Río Guadiela, near the Hermitage of the Virgen de los Desamparados in Buendía, Cuenca, to participate in a significant environmental initiative. Despite the water temperature being a brisk 11 Degrees Celsius (51 Degrees Fahrenheit), these committed individuals, including divers and land volunteers, joined forces to tackle the ongoing issue of marine and beach litter.

A Collaborative Effort
The event was organized by NAUI, with the support of PARAMAX Dive and Rescue School, University Dive Club OCEANIDES, Aolde Radio, the Spanish Royal Navy League, Factor Zero, and the Historical Diving Society of Spain. The event took part under the umbrella of Red de Vigilantes Marinos. The cleanup showcased the power of collaboration, bringing together diverse stakeholders united by a common goal.

A number of other organizations also helped in the role of collaborators: DAN Education, 4U Sport, Scuba Finders, Aquaventure Scuba Academy, SLA Salvamento, Ursuit, Nacho Nieto, and Club de Buceo Cabo del Ancla, among others, showcasing a broad coalition of environmental stewards.

Expanding Global Impact
Since its inception in 2013, this cleanup initiative has grown significantly, extending its reach across borders to countries like Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Cape Verde. The network has consistently tackled the grave environmental problem of marine litter, removing hundreds of tons of waste from seabeds and beaches worldwide. This year’s event at Río Guadiela contributed significantly to that impressive tally, furthering the cause of environmental preservation.

A Social and Environmental Mission
For the fifth consecutive year, the organizers have implemented an innovative exchange program, where the kilos of waste removed from beaches and seabeds are traded for kilos of food. These food donations are then given to the Spanish Federation of Food Banks, blending environmental stewardship with social responsibility. This initiative not only cleans our marine environments but also supports those in need, exemplifying a holistic approach to community service.

Citizen Science in Action
This initiative represents the largest network of divers committed to the marine environment globally. Each year, the data collected from these cleanups contributes to critical studies and actions aimed at minimizing waste and its impact on marine biodiversity. The participation of more than 2,000 divers and numerous volunteers on land underscores the power of citizen science in driving meaningful environmental change.

Technology and Education

Participants were also treated to a Demo Day featuring top brands and equipment demonstrations from Santi, Halcyon, Divertug, Dive X, Sopras Tek, and Max Preven. This provided an opportunity for divers to explore the latest in diving technology and gear, enhancing their ability to conduct effective cleanups in challenging conditions.

Gratitude and Future Endeavors
The success of this event would not have been possible without the support of numerous sponsors, including Pescavona, FESBAL, Libera, SEO Birdlife, Ecoembes, EDP, Oceánidas, and the Asociación Española de Basuras Marinas (AEBAM). Their contributions and commitment to the cause have been instrumental in the ongoing fight against aquatic litter.

As we reflect on the achievements of this year’s cleanup at Guadiela river, we are reminded of the importance of continued collaboration and dedication to preserving our aquatic environments. With each event, we move closer to a cleaner, healthier planet, demonstrating the profound impact of collective action. NAUI´s leadership plays an important role in the promotion and organization of such events.

This successful initiative serves as a model for future environmental efforts, combining community engagement, technological innovation, and social responsibility. It proves that when diverse groups unite for a common cause, the impact can be truly transformative.