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The ocean clean-up team dressed in orange standing on the back of a boat with a smaller boat next to it waving the Healthy Seas flag.
Green project

Continuing to protect our oceans: The return to Ithaca

5 minute read

Every minute of every day, the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into our oceans. Determined to do something about this, and cement our commitment to Progress for Humanity, we have teamed up with Healthy Seas for another year, to continue the clean-up of our oceans. Read on to find out more about our activities in 2022 and beyond.

World Oceans Day 2021

Last year, for World Oceans Day 2021 , we partnered with two sustainable organizations: Healthy Seas and Divers Alert Network. We supported Healthy Seas to undertake a huge ocean clean-up at the site of an abandoned fish farm in Ithaca, Greece and helped Divers Alert Network by giving them a zero-emission Kona Electric for their European Sustainability Tour.

Our collaboration with Healthy Seas was so impressive at the kick-off event in Ithaca last year; a team of divers and organizations managed to collect five tons of ghost nets, 32 tons of metal, and 39 tons of plastic waste. This year, we’ve joined forces again, only this time we get to continue our work in the area and finish what we started.

The ocean clean-up team sitting in the sea at Ithaca with their diving equipment on.

The problems with plastic waste

Plastic waste is perhaps the biggest threat to our oceans today. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature , it says: “at least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments,” and “marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and death.” What’s more, plastic pollution has wide-ranging consequences for us all as it also “threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change .”

Two members of the ocean clean-up team at the bottom of the ocean pulling plastic waste away from a shipwreck.
The ocean clean-up team diving down to a wrecked fishing boat cleaning the plastic and fishing nets.

The biggest problem with the ghost fishing gear is the entanglement of animals, which kickstarts a vicious circle, or a circle of death. ERIK WURZ, MARINE BIOLOGIST AND VOLUNTEER OF GHOST DIVING
ONE OF THE PARTNERS OF HEALTHY SEAS

Celebrating World Oceans Day 2022 with months of activities

Given that plastic pollution has such an effect on us and our planet, we are happy to be supporting Healthy Seas in their ocean clean-up activities for another year. And we’re joining them on the Greek island of Ithaca for the second time.

This year, we celebrated World Oceans Day by continuing our efforts to protect and preserve the marine environment. What’s more, this year, we’re going even further by establishing even stronger ties with local communities to ensure that the impact of our ocean clean-ups is felt for a long time to come.

The Healthy Seas team with a group of children from the local community on Ithaca. The children all have masks on and are holding signs with messages written in Greek on them.

After a successful 2021, we are looking forward to expanding our cooperation with activations that will have a positive impact on coastal communities, children, and our employees. MICHAEL COLE, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HYUNDAI MOTOR EUROPE

Returning to Ithaca

This year, we have returned to Ithaca to finish what we started by organizing a second clean-up. By coming back for the second time, we are committed to cleaning up areas that we have missed so far so that future generations can continue to enjoy the oceans here.

At the kick-off event for this year’s activities on May 23rd, the local community of Ithaca was introduced to our various activities, and we even invited them to explore the project in a highly interactive way. Using virtual reality technology, the locals were able to experience what it was like to be divers. We also invited them to share the success of last year by screening Healthy Seas’ latest documentary.

Over the next 15 days, a team of volunteers and commercial divers collected huge amounts of debris and played a significant role in restoring marine life around Ithaca.

Two local children, one with a VR headset on.
Two volunteers from Healthy Seas shaking out a parachute and carrying out lots of activities with a group of kids.

Fishing for Litter

This year, another big name in ocean preservation has joined the team: Enaleia , a Greek NGO. Enaleia is tackling two of the main challenges of the marine ecosystem: teaching fishing practices that preserve local fish populations and removing the mounds of plastic that pollute the world’s seas. Enaleia incentivizes fishermen to pause their regular fishing activities and collect marine plastic, especially during the time of year when fish reproduce and need protection from overfishing.

Bringing sustainability into our cars

But our efforts don’t stop there. With so many fishing nets and other materials being recovered from the sea, we’re turning our attention to creating a circular economy. We’re finding new and exciting ways to reuse and recycle these materials, so they don’t end up back in the sea.

In fact, Healthy Seas’ founding partner Aquafil is regenerating the recovered fishing nets together with other nylon waste to make ECONYL® yarn, which is used in many things including swimsuits and the IONIQ 5 .

A member of the ocean clean-up team dressed in orange with scuba diving equipment on cleaning a shipwreck. The plastic will be used in the IONIQ 5.
A fishing boat pulling out plastic waste with a crane. Some of the plastic waste is made into sustainable floor mats for the IONIQ 5.

Since the launch of our IONIQ 5 – the first model in our dedicated electric line-up brand – last year, we have offered our customers in Europe the chance to outfit their cars with sustainable floor mats made from ECONYL® yarn. And, this year, we will be expanding the use of this regenerated material to future Hyundai vehicles.

Hyundai’s ongoing partnership with Healthy Seas solidifies our commitment to restoring our oceans and building a better future for Generation One . Ithaca is the first stop for our joint activities this year. The next location will be the coast of Croatia and we will be visiting several other locations in 2022 and beyond.

Want to find out more about our upcoming activities with Healthy Seas? Follow Hyundai(@hyundai ) on Instagram to follow our journey towards a sustainable future.

* All the photos were taken by Dennis Gedaschke & Cor Kuyvenhoven.
Find out more : @visu_photo, @cor.kuyvenhoven

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