“Guardiani della Costa / Guardians of the Coast” is a citizen science program active throughout Italy since November 2017 and sponsored byCosta Crociere Foundation, in partnership with Osservatorio Ligure Pesca Ambiente (OLPA), Scuola di Robotica, ENEA and TLC WebSolutions.
Upper secondary schools teachers and students are involved in an online education and awareness program on marine environment, plastic pollution, coastal biodiversity and climate change issues.
They are invited to take their scientific understanding out of the classroom and into the field, to monitor an adopted stretch of coastline and feed data into a central database using a free mobile App for iOs and Android developed specifically for the project.
A team of biologists then validates all information collected and makes it available in theme-based maps describing the state of Italian coastlines.
First project cycle has been completed in June 2018 with 156 schools, 600+ teachers, 5,7k students engaged, 1/3 of Italian coastline adopted (2,610 km out of 7,458), ≈70k records sent by the Guardians through the App (47% biodiversity, 45% marine litter and pollution, 8% other environmental indicators).
The second project cycle is underway in the current school year.
To strengthen the scientific component of the project and enrich the online educational program with new contents on micro-plastics pollution and the impact of the climate change on the sea, the Foundation started a new partnership with ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development).
As part of the project scale-up, beach cleaning and engagement activities will be organized involving Costa employees and partner travel agencies in Italy and abroad.