Modern technology is helping the Mediterranean Sea
How I started with modern technology
I must start my story by telling you, I am not a technical person. It was late in life (end of 2013) when I got my first computer. I had told all my friends worldwide I did not need a computer as I was writing all my correspondence by hand. Life is like it is and suddenly, because of circumstances, I had a computer, kind of out of the blue.
My dear neighbor was so kind to give me 8 intensive computer lessons and with that knowledge, I was able to send emails, receive them and open them, I know you might be laughing at this. Soon I could send my private photos and slowly but surely, I got kind of used to that little machine.
Discovering the possibilities on the internet
Then I discovered I could do online Mater Classes and Summits as well. These were mainly on health and spiritual issues. In January 2017, I discovered Wealthy Affiliate and I started a website. This first website was soon to be followed by a second as all my interest did not fit on one. I write about my hobbies, places I have been to, health and environmental related subjects.
I write about those things which catch my interest. Because of investigating and writing for my websites, my world view has changed considerably.
My interest in environmental issues
Recently I wrote about how waste is suffocating the Mediterranean Sea. I have been in Spain since 1975 and have lived on my organic farm since 1981. I read the Spanish Sur newspaper and also the English edition, Sur in English. Often I find interesting things which give me the inspiration to write a post for one of my website.
That is how I came to write this post on the Mediterranean Sea. On the Costa del Sol, in the south of Spain is the lovely village called Nerja. Just off the coast is a 9-tonne mountain of waste formed by used wet-wipes. It is close to a protected area and it needs to be taken care of immediately.
Hearing about the Sea Watch project
Shortly after publishing my post I got a comment and was contacted on my email by Ofer Keren. He told me about a cell phone application called Sea Watch, that helps report misuse of the sea’s resources and pollution. This app is free on the App Store and Google Play. I think this is a brilliant idea as technology steps in to help monitor the Israeli coast.
There are apps available for reporting pollution in other regions of the world, such the app Marine Litter Watch, developed by the European Environment Agency, or the app See it, Say it or those who live in Ireland, or even the app Galveston Bay Action Network developed for helping protect the Galveston Bay area of Texas, USA.
Ofer was suggesting that other countries along the Mediterranean might be looking to utilize this kind of notification system. It is an App for your smartphone which enables real-time access to the authorities who supervise the quality of the beach and the appropriate authorities in the case of sea-related issues.
An App made in Israel
This App was developed in Israel and has made a big impact. Have you ever been to a beach and observed something which annoyed you but you did not know what to do? Like when you see ghost fishing nets entangled on the rocks. Illegal fishing and seeing forbidden fish being sold on the market. Wounded animals like sea turtles, dolphins, and birds or non-native invasive species which should not be there. Then you might also see the pollution of the water by un-recycled waste or waste oil from ships.
Detecting any of these situations in the past would have required the observer to go physically to report it to the police and or authority in question. Now you can do it from your smartphone and save valuable time.
How to become an environmental guard
Instead of relying on the concept that the authorities will find out about the issue, you can be an active participant in the protection of our environment. It enables you to participate in marine conservation and it improves awareness of the public for marine conservation in general. As that happens, the data collected by the people will put more pressure on the policymakers to improve marine management and enforcement.
Not so long ago I wrote a post that 1000 eyes see more than 2 alluding to the fact that there are many amateur scientists who help the scientific community with their observations. This app will enable regular individuals to become involved and react when something is amiss.
Let’s have a look at how this App works
On your screen, you will see 9 easily identifiable icons for the emergency situations you might encounter. Below the icons, you find a space where you can make an emergency call. It is all at the tip of your finger. You have the possibility to send a photo, send the GPS position of your observation, and your findings will be sent to the right institution immediately. You can send a report online as an SMS plus an email to the specific personnel.
You fill in which category your observation belongs, date and time, location and Google map link. Who you are, including a phone number and email. A description of the happening including photos and or video.
It is not only on the beach you might find something disturbing. Imagine you go to the market and see illegal fish for sale or fish that have not reached the required length, like selling baby fish. In Jafa, Israel, this App has shown to be a great help. Hopefully, it will spread to all countries worldwide.
Some data on Israel’s marine life
In Israel, every year, 100.000 endangered marine animals, including sharks and rays, are illegally fished. On top of that come at least 2 dolphins and a staggering 3000 sea turtles are harmed annually by fishing activities. Because of the many years of over-fishing, Israel has driven its local fish population to near extinction. The same can be said for other countries on the Mediterranean Sea.
When you look at the world the data is staggering and very sad.
Surfers, swimmers, fishermen and nature lovers filed reports about the hazards and illegal activity they were witnessing on the Israeli beaches but these reports got kind of lost in the bureaucratic mill. Too much paperwork and coming too late to the right spot made this system highly ineffective.
Sea Watch is created
Last fall something good happened. Sea Watch was born. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) developed this App, which enables its user to report any unfortunate happening connected to marine life. This free App has been downloaded more than 8000 times and has made a profound impact on Israel’s marine life.
Shortly after its launch, a deep sea fishing boat was spotted in the harbor of Haifa. It was filled with crates which held the protected round stingrays. Using the App to report this incident the Rangers from the Israel Nature and Parks authorities promptly arrived on the scene.
The App helps with saving turtles. Recently a baby turtle with a piece of ghost fishing net around its neck was washed ashore where surfers found it. Using the App, a ranger appeared promptly and took the baby turtle to the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. The baby turtle was baptized by the name of Michelangelo, is recovering well and soon will be returned to the sea.
This App can be downloaded for free. Sea Watch App for Android and also on Apps on Google Play. I think it is very important to spread this news so all countries which border on the water should have this App with the specific authorities for each situation. Please spread this news as we are all responsible for taking care of our environment.
So, your country doesn’t have a coast? That would not be a problem, as this principle of reporting situations can be applied to any place you live. River pollution, oil spills, excessive smokestack emissions, these are all things that the 1000 eyes can help find.
I told you at the beginning of my post I am not a technical person but I applaud this initiative and the potential is huge. Mother earth needs her citizens to protest and report whenever something bad is happening to her.
Source: Ofer Kering https://www.kerenrg.com/english/ and firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Source: Pixabay
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