The global population is increasingly realising the need to save the planet and curb the rate of climate change, and the younger generation is particularly worried. An initiative in Marbella, Generación Verde (Green Generation) is focussing on just that. The group is made up of more than 50 people between the ages of 15 and 25 years, who use social media to organise clean-up sessions across the town, from the waste grounds of Montua, Trapiche Norte and Bello Horizonte, to the beaches.
The project started with a simple conversation between Andrea Gálvez and a friend, when they decided to collect rubbish in the fields instead of going for coffee. While they were on their way to pick up the waste, Gálvez realised that there wasn't a single organised movement in the area which exclusively dedicated itself to cleaning public areas. "There was Marbella Activa and Vivir Sin Plástico, but nothing formed by the people of Marbella which dedicated itself specifically to doing what we are now doing," explains Gálvez, who decided to create a WhatsApp group before even arriving home after collecting rubbish from the fields. "We spoke and decided to create a group. My friend added her cousin, Teresa Durán, and she in turn added Sofia Rastelli, so that is how we met."
These three are the main managers of Generación Verde Marbella, a project that goes beyond just cleaning the waste from the town's public areas. "We want to make people aware of which of their habits must change, and we do this by collecting rubbish. Our real goal is not only to collect this waste, but also to ensure that people no longer throw rubbish," emphasises Rastelli, co-responsible for coordination on social media.
The dream of these young people is that the project will, one day, not only be based in Marbella, but also in other provinces. "We would like people to join the movement, either under the name of 'generación verde' or by creating their own. But we want to be the trailblazers of this movement in Andalucía," says Rastelli.
They are already on course to do so. The WhatsApp group, made up of more than 50 young people, includes people from other towns who have participated in some of the clean-up sessions in the past. Moreover, some of them have started to extend the movement to their neighbourhoods, organising meet-ups to clean the town's beaches. "We have been sent photographs of people filling buckets with cigarette ends in Malaga."
Despite the short amount of time since the idea's conception and the fact that social media accounts were created less than a month ago, the group already has more than 500 followers on Instagram and more than 8,000 views on Facebook.
The group's work starts with reconnaissance at different points of the town. "We either investigate the sites or we get calls to let us know where there is rubbish. If we see that there is a lot of waste, we organise a meet-up. If not, we do an unofficial clean-up ourselves," explains Gálvez.
After choosing the site where the clean-up is to take place, the group spreads the word on social media and in the WhatsApp group, with the aim of gathering as many helpers as possible. In the posts published on Instagram and Facebook, the group also recommends ways in which the work can be done better.
"They have to bring face masks, long trousers, gloves and large bin bags," says Durán. Each volunteer has to bring their own equipment, and, because of this, the group soon wants to become a non-profit association in order to be able to apply for grants and fund its projects and collections.
For the moment, thanks to the growing support for the movement, the group has started to attract private collaborators. These include Taller la Ola, dedicated to re-using plastic bottles in order to make decorations.
There are also two shops in the centre of the town, Joyería Vega and Ohana, which act as meeting points for people who are unable to attend the organised collections but still want to participate in some way.
So far, the group has had only five meet-ups in which they have collected a significant amount of waste. On average, some forty 100-litre bags have been filled with rubbish at each one.