The fleet that cleaned 1400 kg of plastic in 3 hours

The story about 4 boats and 50 people who are cleaning Tromsø's coastline

September 16 is International Coastal Cleanup Day. Pukka Travels decided to create Scandinavia’s only official cleanup with fellow tour operators, students and locals in Tromsø, Norway. 50 volunteers and 4 boats sailed out to where the whales feed in the winter and collected 1400 kilograms of trash in just 3 hours. 

The concept:

Nearly 5 months ago the team at Pukka Travels started brainstorming ways to help the community, simple ways to do more for the place in which we work and live. We knew we wanted to start cleaning the ocean, but we were unsure when and to what degree. We ended up stumbling across Ocean Conservancy’s International Ocean Clean Up Day on September 16th, 2017 and immediately signed Pukka Travels up as an official clean up destination. Surprisingly enough, we were the only people to sign up in Scandinavia. Then again, I guess people assume the North is quite fresh and clean, which it is… at first glance.

Before the event, we decided to contact local tour operators in town to join forces to bring volunteers down to the area where the whales migrate & feed in the winter. To us, it made the most sense for the tour operators to come together and clean this area since it is where we bring customers for whale safaris, and we want the whales to live a happy, healthy and free life when in the Tromsø area.

We invited the local community, businesses, land-based tour operators, and students to join the trip, we fastly filled 50 spots and there was at least another 50 on the waiting list.

Before the event, our Tromsø-based team contacted the Kommune (local community) for clean up advice considering they have led many of these in the past. They were very supportive and provided plastic bags for all of us, and helped direct where the cleanup would take place (which beaches have been cleaned, and which ones have not).

The clean up day:

As we gathered on the harbor on a sunny autumn morning, spirits were beyond high. People who are from all over the world came together to help clean up the place we call home. Polar Adventures, Arctic Cruise in Norway, Arctic Adventure Tours and Pukka Travels loaded their boats and set sail through the epic fjords surrounding Tromsø.

Everyone was excited as the morning commenced. New friends, sunshine, fishing, laughter while cruising through the arctic seas. Each boat had a designated ‘clean up zone’ and the divers had the sea to play with. After cruising together, we went our separate ways for 3 hours to see what we could find.

As we took the dinghy to shore, we saw colorful debris ‘glistening’ in the rocks. When we got closer it was really shocking to see how much garbage was on the beautiful Norwegian coastline. Huge plastic barrels locked in the shore, ropes intertwined between rocks, and what seemed like plastic bottles and fishing equipment that was never ending. While it was disheartening to see what humans have done to our beautiful planet we channeled that energy in a positive direction to realize we are making a difference, even if it was a small one.

3 hours and about 200 bags of trash later later, silhouettes of the boats started making their way back to the “base” where Hildr was preparing a beach BBQ for everyone. It was great to see how energized everyone was when they came on shore, with the boats filled sky high with garbage bags, we have never seen trash praised in such a way. This was really the perfect way to recharge in the sun before making our way back to dispose of the garbage back in Tromsø.

After an hour or two on the beach, we embarked back on the boats and sailed back home.

When we arrived the dump truck was waiting to be filled with garbage and no one really thought that it would be filled, but with 30 minutes of teamwork we filled 1400 kg of trash into the bin. 1400 kg of trash off one small coastline of many in Norway.

clean up norway

Ocean clean up in Tromsø Norway. Collected 1.4 tons of trash

We hope the whales notice that their home was cleaned this year, and we can not wait to make this an annual tradition. More importantly,  we would like to thank everyone involved. It is not easy to take an entire Saturday off to clean the coastline, but everyone did it with such enthusiasm. We can’t wait to work with you all again in the near future.

A special thanks to the following companies and people who made this day extra special.

The boats:

Kenneth, Marlene & Chrstine, Polar Adventures / Kurt & Steinar, Arctic Cruise in Norway / Per-Thore & Anniken, Arctic Adventure Tours

The businesses:

Bjørn, Hildr / Per, Tromsø, Tromsø Safari / Ida & Lise, Tromsø Camping / Kristin, Martin & Jahn, Tromsø Undervanns Klubb / Bo, Tromsø Kommune / Yati, Wild Seas / Smart Hotel Tromsø 

The volunteers:

Aakash, Iris, Camille, Carmen, Annika, Yuliia, Jolijn, Samuele, Davide, Ascanio, Lotte, Leonie, Romain, Ariana, Midoli, Jacqueline, Jana, Anouk, Sofia, Adele, Jorunn, Bjørn Tore, Paolo, Lillian

Many thanks,

The Pukka Team`

Anton, Henriette, David, Alice, Francesca & Perri

See the press release & download photos here 

(photos by max lander / words by perri rothenberg)

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