Due to the measures surrounding Corona, we ended up stranded in Moulay Boesselham. A tourist village with a long beach on the Atlantic Ocean and a lagoon with lots of birds. We have been received so much kindness by the people here. The Moroccan are a social and generous people. They don’t have much but share everything.

The beach is lovely and we have found beautiful shells here for our project ‘Treasures of the Sea’. But unfortunately there is also a lot of plastic here. Mainly from local fishermen who leave their plastic caps, bottles, fishing line and plastic bags on the beach. We have been welcomed by the inhabitants of Moulay Bousselham that we wanted to give something back to the community. The idea was to make a fish from the bottle caps and made a ‘message in a bottle’ story: plastic in the sea – fish eat plastic – people eat fish with plastic – as artwork in the sand.

The corona measures banned access to the beach. After these three weeks of Beach Clean Ups we have become known as ‘Environmental Workers of Moulay Boesselham’. Which gives us the right to keep cleaning on the beach. I spoke to a fisherman and he was going to discuss the “message-in-a-bottle” story with the imam. Hopefully he wants to talk about this with the local population in order to raise awareness about the plastic problem.

We were asked if we wanted to show our campaign on local television in order to tell our story to a wider audience. Of course, we will! The result is an attention we could not foresee. Even people in the Netherlands had seen the broadcast. On Youtube the video was viewed more than 123K in a short time, on social media we could no longer process the flow of positive reactions. The Van was even recognized by the Moroccan policeman, who asked if he could take a selfie with us. All the reactions were heartwarming.

In this way we hope to make the environment cleaner with our local, small and especially cheap initiatives. It is a cultural change that will not happen quickly but as Nelson Mandela said: “Every person you reach is one, over time you will achieve the majority.”