In one month, fishers removed 10 tonnes of waste from Guanabara Bay with Ocyan’s support

In addition to the positive environmental impact, the project generates income for the local community and promotes the circular economy. 

The fishers taking part in the “Clean Bay” campaign, funded by Ocyan, which is carried out as part of BVRio’s Fishing for Litter project, have already removed around 10 tonnes of waste from Guanabara Bay in just one month of collection. Around 20 fishers, from two traditional fishing villages in Caju and Ilha do Governador, are dedicating two days a week to the ‘catch’ of waste, with the goal of removing 100 tonnes from Guanabara Bay in 12 months.

More than a tonne of waste is collected daily and the 10 tonnes were removed in just seven days of fishing. Items ranging from small debris to bulky objects were collected, including around 4 tonnes of different types of plastic, 500 kg of glass, 100 kg of electronics, one tonne of textiles, over 200 kg of flip-flops and even three or more sofas. Most of the collection takes place in the mangroves, home to ecosystems vital to coastal areas, so crucial for sustaining life in the sea and providing food and income for the local population. 

Gileuda Silva Barbosa, known as Branca, an artisanal fisherwoman who takes part in the project, says, “Our biggest dream is to have a clean bay. We have fishers working here for over 40 years, and they say it’s excruciating to see so much rubbish. Fishers sleep and wake up dreaming of the rocking of the sea, and of this rubbish having a proper destination. When we pick up this rubbish, bag it, and take it to the bin, it’s very pleasurable because we can be sure it will no longer be in our fishing nets.”

In addition to the positive environmental impact, the project also benefits the local community, supporting 20 families and providing income through waste collection and correct disposal. Some of this material is sent for recycling, contributing to the circular economy.

Pedro Succar, BVRio’s circular economy specialist, emphasises the meaningful social impact since the fishers can no longer support their families with traditional fishing alone. He emphasises that, “This project has been the source of livelihood for these groups and highlights the social and environmental nature of the initiative, which provides income and dignity for fisherfolk while contributing to cleaning up the Bay. This, in turn, results in an increase in marine life and, consequently, greater income from fishing.”

Ester Bayerl, Ocyan’s Social and Environmental Responsibility, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, emphasises the company’s commitment to ESG (environmental, social and governance) goals. “The project is in line with our ESG targets and our commitment to creating opportunities and empowering communities, contributing both to a cleaner Guanabara Bay and to a society that will enjoy the benefits of this important ecosystem in the future. Guanabara Bay is the second largest on the Brazilian coast and, for decades, was the main access to Brazilian land. Cleaning requires a collective effort that brings together the government and private enterprise, but everyone must do their bit.”

BVRio closely monitors the project through the KOLEKT app, which records the quantities of materials efficiently collected by the fishers, making it possible to verify and certify that the waste has been recovered and recycled following current regulations.