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Mundus maris and its friends and allies teamed up again this year to celebrate World Ocean Day, 8 June, together around the globe under the UN motto focused on protecting the ocean – and ourselves - from hideous plastic pollution. Celebrations entailed a quite diverse programme of activities, starting with the youth contest for Mundus maris Awards. Preparatory and awareness raising activities took place in several countries. Celebrations reached their culmination with special events on three continents: taking off in Brussels, Belgium, and followed by other events in Argentina, Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal.

The Environmental Festival of Brussels took place again at the Parc Cinquantenaire in Brussels on Sunday 3rd June. Aided by a warm and sunny weather from the first hours in the morning, families, couples, friends - altogether about 22,000 people of all ages wandered around the festival booths exploring their large variety. With an inviting set up that created an informal area for interaction with the visitors, complete with a kid-friendly area, Mundus maris volunteers spent the day engaging in fascinating conversations in over five languages with the international public that stopped by the MM booth.

The theme of this year's Festival was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, in accordance to the recent campaign launched by the UN. The event also took place just few days after the announcement of the EU Commission's proposal of a new Directive to reduce single-use plastic. The proposed regulation specifically targets the 10 single used plastic objects of daily use which are found in abundance on the beaches– such as plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers, sticks for balloons, food and drink containers.

This is good news. But the proposal does not say anything about many other forms of plastic. One such type of absentees are cigarette butts, an estimated 3 trillion of which are released into the environment and many end up in the ocean. Few people seem to be aware of the fact that the combination of toxic chemicals of the cigarette butts can kill marine life. During several clean-up drives earlier this year, we found indeed that cigarette butts were outnumbering any other plastic litter picked up.

So, the focus of Mundus maris this year was also on preventing more marine litter in the ocean, underscored by clean up drives in several countries in the run-up to 8. June. In addition to the usual informative material, visitors of the booth could sign up for a pledge for the ocean focused on reducing plastic use and discards. It was heart-warming to learn that the majority of the visitors were already rather well-informed about the plastic waste problem in the ocean.

The entire family is engaged in answering the quizThe conversations at the booth offered excellent opportunities to expand their understanding of the issues and answer many remaining questions.

For some visitors, it was not clear that there are other forms of plastic pollution in addition to packaging, such as microbeads incorporated in cosmetics, suncreams and tooth pastes and microfibers released when washing synthetic fabrics.

A good number of visitors participated to our quiz and answered the five questions on marine plastic pollution that was distributed at the booth. At the end of the day, the happy winner of an attractive cotton bag with the Mundus maris mascots Samba and Kumba was drawn from among the questionnaires with the highest number of correct answers. Most questionnaires had 2 or 3 right answers out of five, suggesting that people are partially informed, but there are still many aspects of the problem which receive less coverage from media, where organisations such as Mundus maris have their work carved out to raise more awareness. Meanwhile find out the answers here, if you have done the quiz for yourselves.

A handy little leaflet in French and English versions was a champion among visitors. It illustrated how one might reduce plastic use through changing daily routines, hour by hour. Examples were proposed of what to consider while doing the laundry, going to the gym or simply selecting between different body creams.

On the back of the info sheet, seven practical tips were combined with a small challenge that invited to spend one day each week completely plastic free. The French version finished fast. Click here, you can try it out yourself.

A small experiments that allowed to visualise in real time the effects of ocean acidification on calcareous marine species attracted a lot of attention. That was often a good starting point for wider conversations on climate change and other factors affecting ocean health, not only plastic.

Lots of people were glad to share with us what they are already doing for the oceans, such as self-production of home detergents and other products. Visitors made ample use of the notice board offered in front of the booth to share experience.

Kids also had a dedicated creative space for them where they passed through in droves and had fun by colouring MM mascots with water colours.

We were particularly happy to welcome the visitors, who felt attracted to Mundus maris activities to the point of wanting to get more involved. Several offered to volunteer and contribute to the association's activities by using their time and skills, such as knowledge of foreign languages. Strengthening the team in this way will be most helpful to cope with growing demand for ocean protection, in particularly sharing knowledge more effectively.

The Brussels-based winner of one of the Mundus maris Awards 2018 in the youth contest – For a Plastic-Free Ocean, Lila Bel Mamoune, could unfortunately not make it to the festival. The ceremony to hand over the prize is therefore postponed to a more convenient date.

After a whole day in the sunshine, when the festival was officially shut down, there were still visitors hovering around the booth. Overall, the public turnout and participation was successful. A big thank you to the dynamic volunteer team and the countless visitors engaging in conversations with the team and the information materials as well as making their personal pledges to the ocean and active support of our work.

Text by Simona Boschetti, photos by C.E. Nauen.

Belgrano University, Club de Pescadores and Mundus maris celebrate World Ocean Week in Buenos Aires

Awaiting the session to start - students outside the auditoriumThanks to careful forward planning of all aspects of the ocean week since April 2018, including committing a series of speakers for different events, preparation of information materials, press briefings, catering and documentation, everything was well and ready on 4 June for the first event.

Distinguished speakers from Argentina and the world shared their vision on the current situation of the seas, inviting the audience to find answers to current problems.

Some speakers were able to be physically present, others, like Cornelia E Nauen of Mundus maris connected via skype conference. Participants made good use of the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the speakers.

This session took place at Urquiza Auditorium of the University of Belgrano. Zabala and Villanueva, Belgrano, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and was open to the public and free. Certificates of Assistance were delivered.

Students were then encouraged to select a topic related to the theme of this year's World Ocean Day and work in groups of up to five throughout the week in order to find answers to the challenges.

They were then expected to present their proposals at World Oceans Day, Friday 8 June 2018.

This offered them an opportunity to engage actively with ocean protection and use information from their study programme and the expert talks.

Aimé Kimei Astrada worked on the notion that you will protect what you love. Click here to see the result.

Chiara Salustri, Deborah Riccardolo and Sol Bovina worked on reducing plastic use. Check out their proposal here.

Florencia Natali and Fernández Chert worked on sustainable beaches. Click here to see their proposal.

Constanza Miguel, Luis Méndez and Morena Rodríguez took to heart the issue of garbage separation at the university. Find out more here.

Paula de los hoyos chose to work on the appeal "Let's look after and protect our oceans". Click here for the proposal.

Monday, 5 June, Radio Alma in Brussels interviewed Cornelia E Nauen, President of Mundus maris asbl together with Simona T. Boschetti, a coral biology specialist current supporting the social media team of Mundus maris. Radio Alma wanted to get, among others, first impressions about the celebrations of World Oceans Day by Mundus maris at the Brussels Environment Festival with some 22,000 visitors a couple of days earlier. Listen to the interview here (in Spanish).

On went the week of ocean related activities with an invitation to culminate in celebrations, Friday 8 June, in the beautiful premises of Club de Pescadores on the Rio de la Plata. The best course work by students from different universities mentioned above was recognised by the Executive Director of Belgrano University, Lic. Ana Linares Quintana. This award ceremony was followed by the transmission of greetings by Mundus maris President, Cornelia E Nauen, and by a talk by Dr. Marcelo Morales Yokobori, professor at Belgrano University about shared research activities with students of the Universidad del Comahue, Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universidad Belgrano. It was a truly memorable event in a beautiful setting.

More on the programme of the week here.

Information materials kindly made available by Dr. .Marcelo Morales Yokobori

Winners of the student course work awards View from the Club de Pescadores onto the Rio de la Plata

World Oceans Day 2018 celebrations in Kribi, Cameroon

The celebrations had been well prepared by preparatory visits of Bénévoles des Océans, led by Mme Jeauberte Djamou, at the Schools forming part of the primary schools complex Kribi Centre.

The programmed celebrations were in two phases:

On the day itself, 8 June, the event at the primary school, Ecole primare d'application in Kribi Centre "Ocean" with its several sub-divisions rehearsed again what they had learnt about the ocean.

They underscored their commitment to address the need to keep it free from plastic pollution and other threats.

In recognition of their engagement, the kids who had participated in the Mundus maris Awards contest and the teachers supporting the awareness raising for World Oceans Day received honorary diplomas.

They were all encouraged to continue their learning and action to protect the ocean throughout the year.

The second leg of World Oceans Day celebrations took place the next day in a pirogue off the Ngoye beach of the seaside city of Kribi.

CamWater, the public water utility in Cameroon, supported the excursion.

Some 213 children swarmed out initially to clean the beach from debris with a special eye on collecting all plastic litter (see the group photo below with the sacs of collected garbage).

At the end of the successful clean-up, the children received some gifts to recognise their participation.

The environment expert of CamWater then explained the mission of the company in distributing water, provide sanitation and to ensure good water quality in its water distribution network to households across the country.

To conclude that part of the programme all kids received juice in reusable bottles offered by the breweries of Cameroon. A big thank you to all participants and the local company sponsors.



Celebration at the Primary School Kawabata Yasunari in Hann, Senegal

Thanks to coaching by the indefatigable Bina Diop, 17 girls of the primary school Kawabata Yasunari in Hann Bel Air have rehearsed a sketch titled "Let's save the ocean" to help celebrate World Oceans Day 2018 at their school.

The rehearsals went on for three weeks and the girls aged 10 to 12 years of the CM1 and CM2 classes were very determined to contribute to creating greater awareness about the need for ocean protection. They are no strangers to the pollution on the beaches and the waters of Hann Bay lamented by inhabitants for years with little sign of improvements.

The Director of the School, Mr. Diallo, and several teachers of the school have facilitated and encouraged this activity as a good contribution to their pedagogical mission, in particular Mr. and Mrs. Deme, Ms. Mbaye, Mr. Diouf and Mr. Mamadou Diallo, who in addition to look after the IT room also documented progress photographically.

The teachers had already supported the participation of some pupils in the Mundus maris Awards youth contest 2018.

While the sketch was to be performed in the afternoon in front o all pupils, a preparatory meeting in the morning allowed Aliou Sall, Vice President of Mundus maris, to explain a bit more about the importance of healthy marine ecosystems, the major threats humans pose to their integrity.

He elaborated why counteraction is crucial and illustrated, what the organisation is doing about that.

Aliou used the development of the teachers' guide and workbook for pupils done with FAO a few years earlier as an example for supporting the learning about the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) in schools in Senegal and The Gambia.

The presentation made a big impact on the pupils, boys and girls, not only those acting in the sketch. They asked lots of questions.

During this exchange they wanted to learn more in detail about the ocean and what Mundus maris was able to do with them and their school, among others to restore its health.

After the presentation, Aliou asked the pupils, what had been the most significant part of the presentation and debate for them.

The two winners of Samba and Kumba Encouragement PrizesThe pupils mentioned two points that had made them think:

  • the degradation of the marine ecosystems was not something that just happened as a result of forces that had nothing to do with them and could not be influenced by them and their parents. On the contrary, it dawned on them that the poor health of the ocean was largely human-made.
  • there were things that everybody could do to stop the threats, e.g. arising from plastic and other pollution that in turn posed health risks not only to marine organisms, but to humans as well. There were things they could even do as pupils and also raise awareness around their school, in their family and community.

To round up the meeting and recognise the commitment shown for World Oceans Day 2018, Aliou Sall distributed Mundus maris cotton bags together with some of the teaching aids about the EAF. Special mugs were handed over to two girls, who had won Samba and Kumba Encouragement Prizes in the Mundus maris Awards contest, Samb Marianne and Wane Rokhaya Ndiaye, both 11 years old. Congratulations! A larger award ceremony will take place later.

Since then, the improvised theatre group did their sketch for their class mates and the entire school, enthusing all those present. The after-effects of the agitation surrounding World Oceans Day 2018 are still being worked on but the following events are already firmly planned - each with the performance of a sketch. Indeed, encouraged by their teachers, the girls want to remain together as a theatre group on a more regular basis. They want to call their group "School theatre group Mundus maris" («Groupe théâtral scolaire Mundus maris»). The girls are now rehearsing every work day afternoon under the supervision of Bina Diop for these special performances.

  • In a ceremony with the school community and the mayor of Hann, on 23 June, the prizes will be handed over publicly to all winners in Hann.
  • The current director will retire on 30 June and be saluted by the entire school community.
  • The baptism of the theatre group is scheduled for July, 1.

Mundus maris will provide T-shirts and school materials to the members of the theatre group to celebrate the baptism.

Text is by Aliou Sall, photos by Mamadou Diallo.

The indefatigable Bina Diop


 Soccer schools in Hann celebrate again with Mundus maris

This year, we continue with what is becoming a "tradition" - to celebrate World Oceans Day with the sports community in Hann Bel Air, particularly with the soccer schools.

Indeed, the partnership between Mundus maris and the "Maison Foot" has already led to a wider mobilisation of the Friendly of all 12 soccer schools in town (Amicale foot ball) in 2017.

This positive experience was to be built upon this year, when the theme of World Oceans Day was specifically focused on preventing further plastic pollution of the ocean as an urgent objective to safeguard the health of marine animals and their ecosystems and ultimately humans themselves.

As soccer exercises a huge attraction on young boys as an opportunity for social ascend, the schools have become a mass phenomenon.

The responsible officers are quite conscious of the potential to influence the youngsters towards more environmental awareness and socially engaged attitudes. Messieurs Cheikh NDOM, Gabou, Aziz, Ibrahima Wellé and Mafall were the driving force among the soccer schools in the Friendly.

They are therefore only too willing to seize the chance of World Oceans Day celebrations with our organisation to connect teaching of principles with concrete action.

This way, the different schools organised a beach clean-up among volunteers from their pupils. The boys collected all solid garbage, including plastic litter they could gather on the most affected part of the beach along Hann Bay.

This clean up was followed by a championship in several rounds that started at 2pm on the cleaned beach.

Mundus maris offered a number of prizes including cotton bags, mugs and balls with the official symbol of the forthcoming soccer world championship, for those schools most engaged in ocean protection.

Trophies were also coveted as awards for the happy winners.

The winners were:

  • the two teams coming first and second in the tournament
  • the two best players achieving goals
  • the best goal keeper.

The overall winner of the tournament was the soccer school called "Maison Foot".

The most goals were achieved by Ibrahima Dione and Mamadou Diallo, respectively of the soccer school "CPH: Centre de perfectionnement de Hann Bel Air" (Advanced Soccer Centre Hann Bel Air) and "Challenge Foot".

The trophy for the best goal keeper went to Khadim NGOM of "Challenge Foot".

This year brought about an innovation in the form of an additional turnament of checkers (jeu de dames), played traditionally with white and dark sea shells. It's an excellent and playful way to learn strategy, thus complementing usefully the physical training associated with soccer.

Moustapha NDIAYE of the "Maison Foot" was the winner of the checker tournament.

Mundus maris was represented at the tournaments by its Vice-President, Aliou SALL.

After handing over the awards, he addressed the participants emphasising the importance of the ocean for our living conditions, our recreation and well-being. He underlined how much value he attributed to the commitment of the sports people to help with ocean protection.

The responsible officers of the soccer schools in the Friendly in turn reiterated their willingness to continue engaging with Mundus maris in this endeavour. They highlighted two aspects already mentioned last year:

They would like to enter into a better structured and continuous relationship with our organisation so that the collaboration would be more productive thanks to greater continuity. That collaboration should focus on the coast of Hann Bay, where each of the schools trains on a segment of beach adjacent to their part of town and thus would facilitate engaging also with the inhabitants.

As their students are mostly in the age bracket from 12/13 to 18 years, more regular interaction could systematically involve a seizable fraction of the youth in clean-up efforts of the Bay throughout the year.

They would like to combine such regular awareness and clean-up activities with links to European companies of sports material to improve equipments and use this as an incentive for greater environmental awaresness. They hope that our attempts to bring them in contact will be more successful than in the past year.

Mundus maris celebrates at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria

The 2018 Mundus maris asbl World Ocean Day (MM WOD) event was held in Akure, Nigeria, on June, 13 and 14, 2018, at the premises of The Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. The theme of the 2018 WOD is: A plastic free Ocean.

The 2018 event in Akure, Nigeria, featured on the first day: “General sanitation”: a plastic free environment at the Federal University of Technology, Akure and off-campus. It was declared opened by the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. J.A. Fuwape.

He gave the welcome address and proposed a long-lasting solution to plastic problems starting from the University, State and the country at large. The project is tagged Plastic Initiation Project (PIP). The Vice Chancellor also joined in the Sanitation event amply documented on the university's social media.

The day one event was further extended to the off-campus environment. At a nearby water body where practical examples of a water body with plastic could be seen. 

The public consisted mainly the students of the Staff Secondary School (SSS), FUTA.

Brief lectures on how to keep our Ocean clean and free from plastic were delivered by Dr. O.K. Gbadamosi, Dr. O. Olawusi-Peters, Dr. M.L. Adeleke, Mr. Ikuyinminu Anthony (Principal of the SSSFUTA) and Prof. O.A. Fagbenro.

The session was interactive and closed by questions and answers.

The second day event (14 June) was held at the Staff Secondary School, FUTA Hall. It started at 9:30am with the registration of the participants and invited guests.

The University Vice Chancellor, Prof. J.A. Fuwape was ably represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Development (DVCD) Prof. Oguntunde. Prof. O.A. Fagbenro of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology, The Federal University of Technology Akure, was the Chair. In his address he welcomed all participants and enlightened the audience on why plastic is now the ‘enemy of water’.

The goodwill message of Mundus maris was delivered by Dr. (Mrs) M.L. Adeleke of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology, FUTA. The Principal of the Staff Secondary School, FUTA also encouraged the audience on the need of a plastic free ocean.

The representative of the First Lady of Ondo State delivers her Goodwill speechThe lead speaker, Prof. J.O. Babatola of the Department of Civil Engineering, FUTA, spoke extensively on the theme of a Plastic Free Ocean. See his ppt here.

Ten participants took the Mundus maris quiz; five from FUTA Staff Secondary School and five from the Primary School. Master Enikuomehin Faderera of the Secondary School came first while Miss Ibeto Agatha of the Primary School came second. See the responses here.

Honorary Diplomas were presented to the participants in the 2018 Mundus maris Awards youth contest. The happy winners were also announced by the representative of the First Lady of Ondo State.

Her Excellency, The First Lady Ondo State, Nigeria; Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, a marine scientist herself, was ably represented at the occasion by Mrs. Omobolaji Adebayo, wife of the SSA to Mr. Governor of Ondo State: Rotimi Akeredolu on Research and Documentation.

The First Lady in her goodwill speech expressed the need to take resolute steps to address plastic pollution both on land and in the sea in order to keep the marine life and ourselves alive. As the Mother of the Day she launched the first African Mundus maris asbl Library at the Staff Secondary School, FUTA.

Joy Ojokoh receives her diplomaThe Library aims at promoting Science and Arts for Sustainability of the Ocean and its resources. The launching was dignified by dignitaries from within and outside the State. The Vice Chancellor was another chief advocate of the library. The University Librarian Dr. Gbadamosi lent full support and professional advice as well. 

The event came to a close at around 12.30pm. The Local Organising Committee was composed of Dr. O.K. Gbadamosi, Dr. Olawusi-Peters, Dr. M.L. Adeleke and Prof. O.A. Fagbenro (Chairman).

The text and the pictures are by Dr. Lydia Adeleke.

Mundus maris volunteers for World Oceans Day 2018 in FUTA - from Left, Lola, Lydia, Idara, Janet and Deborah Family Photo WOD celebrations Staff Secondary School Akure



Mundus maris celebrates in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

Tomi Abiodun-SolankeThe World Ocean Day celebration of Mundus maris in Lagos took place 19 June in the premises of the Federal College for Fisheries and Marine Technology (FCFMT) in Victoria Island. The date was chosen to follow the exam period around the formal date of World Oceans Day. The meeting was facilitated by a student Master of Ceremony in person of Segun Adeyemo.

Dr Mercy Adeogun gave the welcome address to the about 30 participants with a brief introduction to the organisation and some of its major activities hitherto.

Mrs Tomi Abiodun-Solanke presented the quiz to allow participants to check their knowledge. About 15 students participated actively. The questions generated some reactions and food for thought - this was an unconventional way to learn a thing or two about the ocean. See the responses here.

Niyi Tioluloye took to the floor immediately after this opening to showcase the videos that were produced as a by–product of the Digital Storytelling Training (DST). This offered the opportunity to discuss and digest further what had happened in the different locations during the video-taping and learn some lessons for future preparations of story boards and engaging with individuals and communities.

Mrs. MangaiThe programme proceeded with a panel discussion on the appropriate tools for how to spread knowledge about the ocean and engage in advocacy. Mr Okekunle and Mrs Mangai, both senior staff members of FCFMT led the conversation.

They suggested information modules on Marine debris into the curriculum of young school children and using creative means to turn wastes recovered from these water body to commercially valued products.

The solutions suggested can also help to generate employment and improve livelihood of people living in the coastal communities.

Mr Saba Wakeel, a lecturer from Lagos State University (LASU) also gave us tips on using different language to suit each audience's communication needs.

He underlined that using e.g. very technical or abstract language would prevent real exchange with most coastal dwellers. He also read out and discussed the seven tips to help in reducing marine debris and plastics.

Alah Emmanuel Akomaye smiles upon receiving his diploma and prizeDr Fakoya, a member of Mundus maris asbl and lecturer at LASU, stressed that now was the time to take the bull by the horn and start bringing solutions to the problems. She dared the students to start channelling their writing and approach toward solving problems.

Next was the ceremony for handing over honorary diplomas for all participants in the youth contest for World Oceans Day 2018 and Mundus maris Awards for the winners respectively.

The students then presented their role play about attitudes towards plastic debris and how to change these. The viewers had a good laugh but were also stimulated to think about how to be part of the solution. Tips on reducing marine pollution were further stressed.

Ms Titi Badmus a past Executive of the Mundus maris Students Club at FCFMT, who now works with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), expressed the intention of NCF to work with the Club on Ocean clean-up drives.

The work plan for the year was also discussed and adopted by everyone.

The Provost of FCFMTProf Stella Williams further challenged participants, especially the students, to come up with creative measures that can be put forward as competition before the end of the year to challenge status quo and also ensure increased visibility for the Club.

The Provost of the College, in person of Captain Dr. Sule, came in and gave a good will message during the programme.

He had invited the guests and the coordinators for a meeting in his office at the end of the programme.

He used his appearance to hint to us about a new Marine Management and Control Department that was to address all of these problems and that will kick off soon in the College.

He said plans are already in place with the appropriate bodies to start off the department.

He said the establishment of this department in no time will be an indication that our voices are being heard by policy makers in the country.

The celebrations ended with a jetty clean-up by the students present at the occasion. A total of 30 bags of waste with an average weight of 2.5 kg per bag were collected from the jetty. This was coordinated by Alah Emmanuel and Seyi Awopetu.

The waste was disposed of at the waste disposal crucible within the College premises. A private waste collection company comes daily to pick up the accumulated waste.

We are also seeking an avenue to bring in recycling companies in order that the plastics can appropriately be handled by them after collection and not only incinerated or disposed of.

The members of Mundus maris asbl at FCFMT in conjunction with the Student Union Executives and the College Management are in talks to promote the practice of appropriate waste disposal and possibly waste separation, if not prevention.

We will also work on producing playful videos that aim at encouraging active measures in this regard.

Account and pictures are by Oluwaniyi Tioluloye.


Prof. Stella Williams Prof. Williams and Dr. Adeogun at the high table
 Mr. Okekunle