Europe’s “first garbage collection competition” draws attention to one of the world’s most polluted bodies of water: the Mediterranean
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What was referred to as Europe’s “first garbage collection competition” took place in Marseille on May 30. The goal was to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea. Merging elements of a race and a treasure hunt, 20 teams, made up of two swimmers and two kayakers, aimed to collect 8 km of waste from the sea.
Le Grand Défi, or The Grand Challenge, was co-organised by the French environmental protection brand Sauvage, Palana Environment and the Amos Sport Business School. It was inspired by Emmanuel Laurin and his film The Great Saphire, which featured Laurin’s 120-km swim between Toulon and Marseille, where he collected more than 100 kg of waste.
“With this event, we want to raise awareness that the protection of the environment is of concern to everyone, especially as 80 percent of the waste in the Mediterranean comes from the land,” said Sindie Aissa of Amos, one of the event’s organisers.
Participants included several prominent athletes, including Coralie Balmy, an Olympic swimming champion, and world athletics champion Muriel Urtis. All of the €140 per-team entry fees are being donated to environmental causes.