Volunteers Remove Tonne of Plastic from Zirje: Politicians Need to Wake Up

By 2 February 2020

As Jurica Gaspar/Morski writes on the 1st of February, 2020, the gorgeous coves and bays of the island of Zirje, much like most of Croatia's islands, are unfortunately full of discarded plastic waste.

Zirje is being written about specifically because as this harmful plastic rubbish arrives on the island, so do the lovers of Zirje as they embark on yet another praiseworthy beach clean-up action. This time, they cleaned up as much as one tonne of plastic waste in just two or three hours, and their satisfaction with their hard work for the good of the environment was sadly spoiled by the fact that someone else would surely arrive and throw more plastic there before long.

This is far from the first time that volunteers, under the organisational baton of Sibenik's city councillor, Anton Dobra, have engaged in cleaning up bays on Zirje which have been contaminated by plastic waste. They regret that the politicians sitting comfortably in Zagreb, as well as many lower-ranking authorities and local government units, still don't feel the need for organised action.

The Adriatic sea seems to concern them only in the domain of its commercial exploitation, as if they've not been concerned at all with the obvious, extremely worrying problems of high amounts of plastic pollution along the Croatian coast and in the sea over recent years. It's like it's not happening at all, or it's happening to someone else, somewhere on another planet.

Owing to this selective blindness, few people except local volunteers rolled up their sleeves on Zirje at least. This is precisely why they urge that at least those who are actually paid for it finally begin to do their work to protect the only sea Croatia has.

''When people start working, then not even jugo (strong southern winds) can stop us. Luckily, we managed to clean up a tonne of plastic, and we're sad that this evil seems to have no end,'' Dobra wrote on Facebook, proud that the volunteers filled up 35 bags with plastic waste that had ended up on Zirje.

''It's important for me to emphasise that we need to awaken people's consciousness. So that it isn't too late for us. The Adriatic is increasingly polluted! The political structures need to be awakened, by volunteers, by individuals… For 2-3 hours of work, there are so many benefits. And this is just a drop in the ocean, this is our national problem - the state MUST get involved! At the moment, there are at least two garbage trucks' worth of trash on Zirje alone. Every county should have its own boat for this kind of thing. This is a global issue, but it's also our problem, we have to face the reality,'' concluded Dobra, showing photographs that confirm the far from optimistic reality on Croatian islands.

Divers claim that below the surface of a seemingly sparkling, clean Adriatic, the situation is sadly even worse.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more. If you're interested in both official and unofficial ways Croatia takes care of its environment, give Total Eco Croatia a follow.