Miquel Ferrés from Palamós, Catalonia, is a fisherman and a keen sportsman. While fishing on his trawler, he came to realise that his nets were collecting the same kind of litter that he would see on the beach during his running sessions. He decided to take action for the well-being of the seas by combining two of his great interests: doing sports and taking care of the marine environment.
With his two sisters, he developed an award-winning app that has been downloaded more than 3,500 times and launched a campaign to promote waste collection, while practicing group sports. The EU’s EMFF funding has helped making his vision a reality.
The environmentally aware Miquel Ferrés discovered a new sports trend, called 'plogging', which is a combination of jogging and picking up litter. 'Plogging' became popular in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries from 2018, with the increasing public concern about plastic pollution.
In order to make 'plogging' better known and practiced, Miquel Ferrés and his two sisters decided in January 2018 to create a mobile phone application, Twinapp. This app facilitates teaming up between runners, hikers, cyclists, and eco-swimmers who want to practice sport together, creating communities of sports lovers who act to clean the environment while exercising.
By 2020, Twinapp has been downloaded more than 3,500 times, it is available in four languages (Catalan, Spanish, English and French) and is being used in Spain and Argentina. The app received two prizes: Premis Cactus (2018) for the best app of the year, and E-Tech prize (2019) for the use of new technologies to involve people in waste collection activities.
Twinapp has been used successfully in the campaign 'Mou-te Pel Mar', organised by Ferrés to raise awareness about marine litter and is supported by the Costa Brava Fisheries Local Action Group. This campaign involved local fishermen's guilds, non-profit sport groups like RunWomanRun, local organisations and private companies (e.g. the Spanish office of Sony in Barcelona).
The campaign included workshops on marine litter involving local residents and authorities, swimming, running or walking outings aimed at collecting litter at land and in the sea, and beach clean-ups. 700 people took part in these initiatives, and thanks to the link between the project promoters and the fishing sector, 300 local fishers were also mobilised, collecting the litter while fishing during the week before each event. In total, 10 tonnes of waste were collected at these events.
The project, supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), is a successful example of how the use of new technologies can address local challenges. 'Plogging' and eco-swimming activities can be organised in all coastal and inland areas as a means to increase social awareness and interaction between local communities.
Did you like this story?
Then also check out the October Euronews Ocean episode on marine litter
Keep informed about the project
Video: Catalunia Radio
Learn more about the EU funded projects on marine litter
Fil & Fab: From harbour collection to recycling of old fishing nets
Reseaclons: an innovative and participative scheme for recycling marine litter
Creating a network for marine litter management
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