Expanding our horizon
12 April 2022
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill’s quote describes the spirit that has driven The SeaCleaners over the past two years, which have been marked by an unprecedented global health crisis and profound economic, political and social turmoil.
The last 24 months have forced us to radically reinvent the way we fulfill our missions: no more events and festivals to reach out to the public and raise awareness. No more professional meetings to present the MANTA. No more friendly moments with our volunteers, so essential to build our actions in the field and engage new supporters.
Throughout this period, our compass has been the constant adaptation to circumstances and events. And, finally, a look in the rear-view mirror shows that this unprecedented period has made us evolve, grow and broaden our horizons.
2021 has been an overactive year for The SeaCleaners. We have continued to expand on new fronts in order to answer one single question: “Where should we focus our efforts to most effectively combat plastic pollution?” The answer has been many:
- Of course, The MANTA, of which we presented the latest advances in our March newsletter. The technological progress has been massive to make this giant of the seas the most complete pollution mitigation tool possible. Today, we are proud to present a project that is more accomplished, comprehensive and attractive than ever.
- The launch of the MOBULA 8, our multi-purpose cleanup boat dedicated to calm waters, to act upstream of ocean pollution, as close as possible to the sources of waste, capable of cleaning up to 18 km² and nearly 6 tons of waste per year.
- Our presence as a major player in public awareness, through massive digital deployment, creation and distribution of new tools.
- The creation of a new operational hub to implement appropriate field actions in the areas of the world most affected by the scourge of plastic pollution, in partnership with local actors, and to fulfill our mission of international solidarity.
- Decentralization of our voluntary actions, with the development of regional delegations to act as close as possible to the needs of the territories, which has led to an increase in the number of actions carried out: 240 in 2021, compared to 20 in 2018.
- Increased involvement in international debates, from COP26, to the IUCN World Summit, to the One Ocean Summit, to influence policy decisions to fight ocean plastic pollution more aggressively.
All these missions are now part of the DNA of the association. See in video
In 2022, we will continue to grow this DNA with its multiplied ambition, through :
- New collaborations (sometimes surprising!) to spread our awareness messages more widely.
- XXL support for our volunteers, with more resources, tools and training courses to carry out the association’s missions in their territories, and the creation of delegations and local action groups abroad. Objective: 400 actions in 2022!
- The opening of new offices in Europe, starting with Spain.
- The deployment of our first river and freshwater clean-up campaigns with the MOBULA 8 in the Denpasar region, on the island of Bali in Indonesia.
- A stronger presence on the international agenda, to influence the negotiations of the future international treaty against plastic pollution, in the continuity of our involvement in the “Task Force” preparing this agreement.
- New solutions for the collection and recovery of plastic waste developed by MANTA INNOVATION, our integrated naval and environmental design and engineering office.
- Collaboration in the field of scientific research, under the leadership of our scientific division, to actively contribute to global knowledge on plastic pollution.
- An upcoming agreement (currently being finalized) with a banking partner to provide the necessary guarantees to finance the construction of the MANTA and its first 3 years of operation.
- The release of the MANTA consultation specifications (document given to shipyards) in a few weeks, which will be followed by a Call for Expression of Interest to identify by 2024 the shipyards willing and able to carry out this kind of innovative project, before the validation of budgetary offers.
These last two points, financial and technical, allow us to foresee a start of construction of the MANTA at the end of 2023, which implies a postponement of its launch to the second half of 2025. The 18 months of COVID during which the search for funds was slowed down have in fact delayed us by one year on the initial financial schedule. The guarantee of being followed by a banking partner allows us to approach these next steps with confidence.
With the support of its partners, The SeaCleaners has undergone an incredible transformation over the past few months. Our missions have expanded and our ambition has grown: to have a visible positive impact on the protection of the oceans, but also on their restoration and the repair of past damage. The task is immense and may discourage some. But not us! Our mobilization is stronger than ever, stimulated by this positive outlook. Thank you all for your support!