What impact? The SeaCleaners and the Sustainable Development Goal #6 – clean water and sanitation

The summer of 2022, with its unprecedented drought, will go down in history as the summer that made Europe aware of the threats to the quality and quantity of water resources.


SDG #6 – Clean water & sanitation

Improving access to clean water and sanitation is a global priority, and UN member states have made it the sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda.

  • What is the link between plastic pollution and water quality?
  • How does the fight against plastic pollution contribute to MDG 6?
  • What impact do The SeaCleaners’ actions have on the quality of water resources?

Drought and drinking water shortages: the last straw on the blue planet

More and more territories in Europe and around the world are exposed to the risk of drought. The collapse of water resources, unthinkable a few years ago, is becoming a reality that local communities must now deal with.
Today, more than 2 billion people are at risk of having reduced access to freshwater resources. And by 2050, at least one in four people are likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurrent freshwater scarcity.
These are seemingly contradictory facts on our blue planet, 70% of which is covered by water! Today, access to and management of fresh and drinking water is both the result and the source of major economic, social and health inequalities.
In this context of resource scarcity and restricted access to drinking water, plastic pollution is proving to be an aggravating factor.
Indeed, freshwater is the primary vector of plastic pollution in the oceans: scientists agree that 80% of plastic waste is discharged into the oceans via some 1,000 rivers.
In this transit from land to sea, plastic waste pollution of rivers deteriorates the quality of freshwater in the most vulnerable regions.

How does plastic pollution affect water quality?

Plastics are veritable “sponges” for viruses and bacteria, growth media and means of transport for pathogens, leading to the proliferation of thousands of bacteria.
This ecosystem that develops on plastic debris even has a name: the platisphere.

On the platisphere, scientists have found species that take advantage of plastic waste to cross ecological barriers. This is the case for various bacterial species of the Vibrio type that cause serious infections in humans and animals, the most serious of which is cholera.
In addition, plastic debris deposits are potential breeding grounds for infectious diseases: every piece of plastic containing water is an attractive breeding ground for insects, especially mosquitoes that can transmit diseases such as malaria, Zika or dengue.
This is a major problem, especially in tropical slums.

Infected water requires more expensive treatment to make it safe to drink, including ozone and chlorine. Because of the higher costs of these treatments, communities often forego them. This leaves water that is potentially safe for human consumption unsafe.

Catchments such as headwaters of rivers and canals, natural lakes and man-made reservoirs therefore need to be cleared of plastic waste and then cleaned up at affordable costs.


What impact do The SeaCleaners’ actions have on water quality in the target areas?

Lack of an established sewage system, toxic discharges of domestic wastewater, industrial effluents or agricultural run-off, as well as poorly managed plastic waste… Bali’s fresh waters are suffering badly from pollution and lack of infrastructure in place.
In the field, The SeaCleaners Mobula 8 clean-up boat, by collecting solid waste (up to 60 cm deep) and sucking up liquid waste (sewage, hydrocarbons, oils, etc.), is helping to limit the risks of spreading pathogens in the Denpasar region of Bali.

It improves water quality by reducing pollution, helps protect and restore water-related ecosystems, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes, and supports and strengthens the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.

MAPP for #SDG6

The SeaCleaners is continuing its contribution to #ODD#6 by building local synergies through the MAPP (Mobula Against Plastic Pollution) programme.
MAPP is a global programme against plastic pollution that aims to complement the curative action of Mobula in collaboration with local authorities, associations and entrepreneurs. The MAPP programme includes initiatives for :
– Waste collection
– Waste management
– Awareness raising and training of local communities
– Technical assistance to improve the value chain
– Scientific research
As waste collection and management solutions are rolled out internationally, The SeaCleaners aims to contribute to the freshwater clean-up effort in new target regions.

➡️ To learn more about Goal #6 and the other Sustainable Development Goals, visit “Facing global challenges for the planet together”

Facing global challenges for the planet together

➡️ For more information on Mobula 8 and the MAPP programme, visit the Expedition Mobula page

Expedition Mobula