Marine Pollution Action Plan


São Vicente, Cabo Verde

Biosfera was founded back in 2006 on the Island of São Vincente by Tommy and José Melo, two nature lovers and activists. Biosfera’s initial mission was to prevent the widely held practice of killing native animals, and the consumption of shearwater bird chicks or loggerhead turtle eggs for food. The organization quickly realized there was another, much bigger threat to their island’s fragile ecosystem: the growing plastic pollution. 

Due to Cabo Verde’s exposed location in the Atlantic, huge quantities of marine debris pile up on its shores, which provide breeding grounds and habitats for many marine species, such as rare seabirds, sea turtles, reptiles and fish.

As of today, Biosfera employs both permanent workers on a full-time basis and specialized project managers dedicated to different focus areas. Education and prevention are core staples of Biosfera’s work, mobilizing the local population and policymakers to stomp the issue at its root.

Photo above: © Biosfera

250+ tons of waste removed



200+ volunteers

A circular approach against plastic pollution

Part of Biosfera’s wider ‘Marine Pollution Action Plan’, the 11th Hour Racing Team legacy grant project attacks the pollution problem from multiple angles. Based on the assumption that the best way to address marine pollution is inland, by avoiding the production of waste in the first place, Biosfera is launching a comprehensive education campaign with schools and local businesses.

As a part of the 11th Hour Racing Team grant project, Biosfera will work to:

  • Organize eight beach clean-ups and one aquatic cleaning campaign in São Vicente, the most important nesting sites for the Loggerhead sea turtle
  • Support a multichannel awareness campaign educating the local population about the consequences of plastic pollution and ways to take action to prevent it. The campaign includes interventions at primary and secondary schools using the educational curriculum from The Ocean Race and Oceanário de Lisboa
  • Create a ‘Good Practices’ label for local businesses, encouraging the native population to adopt better habits and practices for single use items
  • Facilitate the development of creative and innovative ways to re-use collected plastic debris, proactively involving Capverdien women who transform old fishing nets into carrying bags and other artisanal products

Picture below are before and after photos from a beach clean up as a part of the project in February 2022: