International Cooperation for the Aldabra Clean-up Project

Snapshot Solution
Aldabra's green turtle
Seychelles Islands Foundation

Tons of plastic are accumulating along the coastline of Aldabra, threatening sea and coastal fauna such as hawksbill and green turtles, which are vulnerable to both entanglement and ingestion. The combination of Aldabra’s isolation, the difficulty in accessing its remote beaches, and the increasing volume of marine plastic pollution have called for international cooperation.

In May 2018, a collaboration between the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), the Queen's College of Oxford University, Seychelles Coast Guard and Seychellois volunteers was launched. Over a period of 5 weeks, 25 tons of marine debris were removed from the southern coastline of Aldabra, including fishing gear, bottles, and flip-flops. The expedition costed $231K and it is estimated that up to $5 million is required to completely clear Aldabra's accumulated waste.

The project has provided an initial framework and baseline data for the future removal of accumulated marine debris around the atoll and further fundraising is needed to complete this action.

Last update: 04 Apr 2023
Challenges addressed
Ecosystem loss
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Scale of implementation
Open sea
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Marine litter
Waste management
World Heritage
East and South Africa

The project cleared vital nesting areas for breeding green turtle as well grazing sites for the Aldabra giant tortoise, therefore improving the overall health of the coastal flora and fauna.

The project has reached people all around the world through media exposure and outreach programmes. In addition to cleaning up the shores of Aldabra and clearing vital green turtle nesting sites, the project helped to raise global awareness on the issue of marine debris and plastic pollution.

The case study has also inspired other marine World Heritage managers during their first workshop to discuss impacts of marine litter and exchange best practices on marine litter monitoring, clean-up campaigns and awareness-raising.

A total of 25 tons of marine debris were removed from the southern coastline of Aldabra over a period of 5 weeks. During the first three weeks a team of twelve people, assisted by the Aldabra station staff, concentrated on the gathering of the marine debris that was later picked up by the coast guard vessel. It took a further two weeks to transfer the 25 tons of debris from shore to the coast guard vessel.

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