One million tons of plastic removed

lPlastics have become the main manufacturing material in our times due to their ease and low production cost. It is estimated that, since 1950, 8 billion tons of plastic have been generated.

Although Spain is one of the European countries that recycles the most plastics, the rate does not exceed 50%, which ends up generating a serious pollution problem that can alter habitats and natural processes, reducing the capacity of ecosystems to adapt to change. climate. Not only are flora and fauna directly affected by the presence and contamination of these materials, but humans are also impacted by this contamination.

Not in vain, when more than 200,000 tons of plastic reach the Mediterranean Sea alone each year, it is evident that to solve the problem it is necessary to achieve the transition to a circular economy, promote the reduction of the use of plastics, recycling and cleaning contaminated spaces.

Clean the contaminated

In fact, cleaning the natural spaces that we enjoy (such as the beach or mountains) is something that we can all do on our own, but that can also be done in a coordinated way and in a group.

This is the objective of the Santander Natura project that Banco Santander has underway, and in which, since it was launched in 2019, more than 2,000 volunteer employees and their families have participated. This is an initiative within the framework of the responsible banking and volunteering strategy with which the entity seeks to promote awareness among employees and other groups about the environmental problems generated by pollution and the need to respect biodiversity and conserve our ecosystems. .

In this main objective of contributing to the conservation of ecosystems in Spain and fighting climate change, three types of actions are carried out: cleaning beaches and river banks in various regions of Spain; forest reforestation; and placement of nest boxes (for different species of birds depending on the climate).

It should be noted that this ecosystem conservation project in our country also has the collaboration of other institutions, as well as citizens and NGO groups that want to support this environmental work.

Some of the latest actions carried out have had the municipalities of Ronda (Málaga), Oleiros (A Coruña) and Alcúdia (Balearic Islands) as their epicenter.

More specifically, in the first two, actions have been carried out to clean and collect plastics and garbage. In Ronda, and in collaboration with the City Council and the IES Doctor Rodríguez Delgado, an environmental awareness and recycling day was held in which 115 schoolchildren between 12-14 years old participated, as well as the center's staff and Santander volunteers.

Meanwhile, on Bastiagueiro beach, in Oleiros, the morning featured more than 100 volunteers, in collaboration with the Amicos association, which works for the integration of people with intellectual disabilities, autism and paralysis. As for the Balearic Islands, Santander Natura's action has focused on the cleaning and restoration of the banks of the s'Estany des Ponts, in Alcúdia, counting on this occasion in collaboration with WWF. The area is a wetland of high ecological value that is in the process of recovery and where Santander volunteers have gone for the second time to collect a total of almost 500 kg of waste.

Throughout the geography

It should be noted that, previously, hundreds of volunteer employees have participated in actions promoted by Santander Natura to benefit sustainability.

Volunteers have helped in the cleaning and conservation of different beaches in Galicia, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, Cantabria and Guipúzcoa and trees have been planted in Zaragoza, Cáceres and Toledo. Other volunteers, meanwhile, have cleaned forests and collected plastics and garbage on the banks of rivers such as the Tormes, the Saja or the Guadiana.

According to the data provided, all these actions have led to the removal of more than a ton of waste, the construction of numerous nest boxes with recycled materials in different Spanish forests and raising awareness about the importance of taking care of our planet.

With the challenge of continuing to contribute to the conservation of ecosystems, Santander Natura (which has ambassadors such as the swimmer Mireia Belmonte), will continue to visit different natural spaces in Spain in the coming months.

It should also be noted that Banco Santander is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, for which it finances renewable energy projects and participates in projects such as Motor Verde, which will reforest more than 70,000 hectares throughout Spain.