Environmentalist, Scientist, Volunteer, Waste Collector

Hippocampus & Plumbum Projects

Múrcia, Spain

"The society is diminishing the capacity to assimilate resources, air, water, soil, generating severe episodes of pollution. Waste continues to accumulate without being logically utilized."

Hippocampus & Plumbum Projects are led by a group of volunteers committed to the marine environment who see the need to minimize the impact we are causing to nature, specifically focusing on aquatic environments by collecting lead from the seabed and reusing it as an example of circularity. They are also investigating the significant loss of seahorses in the Mar Menor.

Could you tell us who you are and which is your mission?

We are a group of volunteer individuals committed to the marine environment, recognizing the need to minimize the impact we ourselves are causing to the natural world, particularly in the aquatic realm through the collection of lead from the seafloor and its reuse as an example of circularity.

How did you become aware of the plastic pollution problem?

Due to the numerous dives we undertake in the aquatic environment, we always encounter the same common factor: trash. We felt compelled to do something about it.

How do you believe your project helps raise awareness about these significant environmental issues?

We believe that it’s not enough to just take action; we must also spread the word about our actions, so people can replicate or join us. the more of us there are, the more we can accomplish.
Our project is an example of circular economy that collects valuable and toxic material from the sea and recovers it to manufacture new products we use. participating in the project helps you see the problem and a solution where you can act directly.

What research remains to be done in terms of plastic pollution?

we believe that there is enough technology in the world to reduce the consumption of unnecessary plastics. while they often make our lives easier, they can and should be replaced. particularly single-use plastics, and more than researching, action is needed at the source to prevent them from reaching the sea and replace – some – with compostable materials.

Can you tell us more about seahorses and the lead collected from the seafloor?

Regarding the seahorse population, our hippocampus project has determined that in the mar menor in the region of murcia, there has been a 99.9% population reduction. we have already submitted a proposal to the ministry of environment of our region of murcia and the ministry of ecological transition, providing our scientific argumentation, endorsed by the journal of fish biology, where we showcase our 18 years of uninterrupted work, so that the seahorse can be reclassified to a higher status where it can be protected with the critically endangered category and an urgent recovery plan be developed for the species.

Regarding the plumbum project, we continue to conduct selective cleanups of lead from the seabeds, reducing this deadly and lethal chemical contaminant for many species. to date, we have collected nearly one and a half tons, totaling more than 18,500 pieces of lead from professional, amateur, and sports fishing. we continue to work on this. this project was born with the idea of supporting the work of protecting and studying marine biodiversity and is one of the main projects, along with hippocampus and voluntary citizen actions, including citizen science, out-of-water education, and ocean literacy.

What are your dreams for the future?

Our hope is to be able to dive again with seahorses in marine spaces free of trash. we would be content with diving in trash-free spaces, the seahorses will come, but we need to lend them a hand since, as i mentioned before, we are the sole culprits of the total degradation of the planet. seas free of waste and a dynamic and healthy marine biodiversity. achieving a global alliance for the protection of syngnathids and certainly increasing similar actions to plumbum in other places of the world and formally replacing their use with another equivalent non-toxic material in spain, to avoid continuing to use it in fishing.

Is there any book/podcast/movie you recommend on the subject?

A book, Seahorses, by Sara Lourie.
A website, El Click Verde, by Mónica Rubio.
A movie, My Octopus Teacher, by James Reed
A serie, the Seahorseman (Netflix)
A podcast, Healthy Seas.
A place to dive, El Bajo de Dentro de Cabo de Palos, in Murcia.

Pictures © Hippocampus & Plumbum Projects

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