On Thursday 14th December a working day took place between the partners of the EcoTour project. We gathered at the Centre for Information and Communication Technologies for Tourism Innovation (CDTIC Tourism Innovation), a plenary meeting was held with the participation of representatives of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC, in particular with the research groups of Integrative biology and biological resources -BIRB- and Technologies, management and environmental geochemistry -TGBA-), the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands (ITC-Agua), the network of work for the management Sustainable marine resources of the West African eco-region (AFRIMAR), the National Directorate of Environment of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment of Mauritania, the Regional Tourism Association of the Azores (ART), the Mauritanian Tourism Federation (FT) and the Regional Partnership for Marine and Coastal Conservation in West Africa (PRCM), in addition to participation in coordination by the Cabildo of Gran Canaria (and especially the biosphere Reserve) and the Marine Science Technology Centre (CETECIMA ).
This plenary meeting analyzed the state of execution of the project, validating the completed documents and revising the methodologies for the next tasks to be developed by each of the partner entities. The definition of the concept of ecotourism was one of the points to continue working, being necessary to determine the indicators that represent in the different fields (economic, social and environmental) and the limitations so that an activity is considered such. In the meantime, research work has begun in each of the study areas, with the preliminary results of what will form the “Basic Information”: Analysis of the natural potential, historical and cultural value of the zones, map of uses and activities, list of companies operating in each area, etc. With this information, the next steps lead to the evaluation of the compatibility of the uses and the load capacity and acceptable limit of change for the case studies.
The international project G-Cubes, captained by the swiss artist Harald Reichenbach, made a stopover in Las Palmas of Gran Canaria last October with the objective of, in the context of his peculiar round the world, collect marine debris and turn it into pieces of art of economic value as a way of raising awareness of the global issue of marine pollution by our debris. Marine Debris will be then something to talk about in the art galleries, as a global environmental problem that does not recognize borders, neither by sea, nor by land.
Harald Reichenbach, aware of the seriousness of the problem that the marine debris poses, began on September 21 a voyage around the world on board the O’Deline sailboat. During the next 17 months, and covering more than 30,000 nautical miles, it has been set as a mission to collect garbage from hundreds of beaches and coasts in order to transform it into unique artistic pieces: the G-cubes.
The final destination of these pieces, in the form of cubes, will be an exhibition of more than 1,000 G-cubes (G – for garbage), each of them georeferenced, a reflection of the marine rubbish that threaten the oceans around the world.
We were lucky to see a subsample of this final piece of art in the form of several G-Cubes that the pupils from the Primary School Sta Catalina have developed during Haralds’ visit. This way, and thanks to the collaboration of the environmentalist NGO Ecologist in Action, this research groups and the MICROTROPHIC project, some results of the scientific community were presented in the final event in Las Palmas regarding marine pollution due to marine waste, with special emphasis on microplastics.
The Atlantic BluePorts project, recently selected by the Interreg Cooperation Program of the Atlantic Area, has as its main aim to improve port services for the discharge and treatment of ship effluents. The project brings together 28 partners and associated entities; representing ports, operators, public authorities, companies and universities throughout the Atlantic area. Their common objective is to motivate maritime communities to stop dumping into the sea by designing attractive port services.