The Green Fins programme has around 600 members in 11+ countries across the globe. The network is made up of dive and snorkel operators dedicated to protecting reefs by improving the sustainability of their operation.
But it’s not just Green Fins members who can benefit from the initiative’s knowledge, tools and resources. The Green Fins materials are available (for free) for members and non-members alike to use to reduce their environmental impact.
Wife and mother Furaha learned this first-hand when she contacted the team here at Reef-World (we coordinate Green Fins internationally in partnership with UN Environment Programme) to ask for some help with her first ever beach cleanup event. Here is her story…
Furaha, a wife and mom of two kids, lives in the beautiful Mafia Island, Tanzania. The relatively little-known neighbour of Zanzibar is popular with divers because of its beautiful beaches and pristine marine ecosystems. Whale sharks – the world’s largest shark – even visit the island in November and December.
…and her team
Together with four others (she’s the only woman and is the CEO of their group), Furaha wanted to start a beach cleanup programme. However, having never done anything like this before, she needed advice on where to start. They didn’t have any experience or any special equipment.
They wanted to protect their local beach by organising a cleanup
Mafia Island is well known for its diversity of marine life. Yet, plastic threatens and even kills these animals – which play a big role in our lives and that of the planet – so Furaha and her team wanted to organise a cleanup to remove plastic and other items of trash from their beloved beach.
They needed a little guidance
Having heard about Green Fins, Furaha hoped Reef-World (the international coordinator) might be able to help. While Green Fins isn’t yet active in Tanzania, she sent an email to [email protected] to ask for some ideas and advice to get her started.
Luckily, the Green Fins team was able to help
Here at Reef-World, we understand it can be difficult to figure out where to start with your first ever beach cleanup. To help Furaha with her plans, we shared the Green Fins cleanup guides (which you can find here and here) so she and the children could organise a successful event.
After the event, Furaha got back in touch with us to tell us how useful she found the guidelines – she told us they helped her plan the whole project, including how to cooperate with people and guide those taking part. She told us knowing how to organise her own cleanup meant the world to her – and we were so pleased to hear her feedback and see the photos from the day.
The guidelines taught her a lot
Furaha learned a lot from the cleanup guidelines. In particular, she said, they helped her realise the importance of promoting the cleanup event. By sharing your plans, you give more people the opportunity to get involved. She also learned how important it is to properly recycle the trash collected during the event because it’s common to burn trash in Tanzania.
And the beach cleanup event was a huge success
They gathered a group of 21 people: the five members of the organising committee as well as 15 students and their teacher. They all had a great day. The students were so happy and enjoyed taking part. Furaha gave them each a pen and an exercise book as a thank you for participating.
Plus, it’s the first of many
Furaha’s first cleanup went so well they’re now planning weekly beach cleanups every Sunday!
And Furaha was even happy to share some beach cleanup advice of her own
After her successful event, we asked Furaha what advice she would give to someone who wanted to organise a cleanup. She had been worried at first about how to organise her own cleanup. However, now she tells others not to be afraid or think twice about getting started. As well as the Green Fins cleanup guidelines, she found it helpful to search for inspiration shared by others’ cleanups. Looking on Google and Instagram is a good place to start. “You only need your time and efforts” she said. She reminded people that it’s easy to get a few people together if you ask your friends for help.