On Wednesday afternoon the Egypt team got back together with Ali and ROAYA. It was quite possibly the hottest day of the expedition so far, with temperatures reaching scorching heights of 44 degrees. However, with bags, boxes and gloves packed, the team set out to make a change.
We pulled up to the mangroves and were quite frankly daunted by the task at hand. Still in high spirits though, the team split up into small groups (with children from ROAYA) and got cracking.
To encourage recycling, we split up the rubbish into wood, glass and miscellaneous. The majority of litter collected was plastic bottles, lids, rope and wood. Some of the stranger items found were pills and syringes.
Mangroves are an important habitat in the intertidal zone, linking the marine and the terrestrial. They can be found in brackish, shallow waters and combat the intense salinity by excreting salt from their leaves. The mangrove plants produce torpedo shaped buds, that when too heavy, fall and pierce the sand. The process causes the mangroves to spread and reproduce.
During the clean-up, the team were joined by crustaceans such as scuttling crabs and hermit crabs. A whole plethora of organisms rely on the mangroves for shelter and food, the phylum crustacea are just a small part of this complex ecosystem.
While there is still a lot of work to do, we were proud that we could make a difference and would like to thank Ali and everyone at ROAYA for joining us.
We’ve finally managed to count up all of the debris that we found on Wednesday. Overall we collected
494 Plastic bottles
1540 Plastic caps and lids
177 Plastic cutlery, including cups, knives and forks
38 Cigarette lighters
325 Plastic fragments
The big focus of recent times has been to tackle the use of plastic straws, however, it’s evident from this mangrove cleanup that the plastic problem is still a major threat to marine and coastal ecosystems across the world. The team was especially shocked to see the number of bottle caps and plastic bottles in just 1000m squared of mangrove space.
(A before and after shot of the mangrove clean up effort)