Little by little, people are “destroying” the planet. It is something that almost everyone is very aware of, although some strongly believe that it is a natural process. Manuel San Félix, a marine biologist, has it even clearer. With years of intense experience in the remotest corners of the earth, he has seen how the bottom of the ocean has suffered the ravages of the hand of man that you have neglected something essential to life.
Indeed, at the bottom of the ocean, he found the key to a project to save what was left of him. Called Posidonia Maps, the idea of San Félix wanted to save the seabed, at least, from the crystal clear waters of Formentera. Then, what can be saved from the rest of the planet or from the crystal clear waters of the Balearic Islands
It is, broadly speaking, a app very simple that has the focus on the thousands of boats that come to enjoy the beautiful coves of the island. Some that, without control or measure, end up with something that is not visible to the human eye. simply, it only warns the boats where to stop so as not to affect an already very damaged seabed.
Posidonia Maps raises awareness about the oceans
“They called me hippie and long-haired when I chose biology years ago,” explains San Felix at the annual Ametic meeting in Santander, “but that has allowed me to see and dive in places where the human being has hardly been”. That, for the creator of Posidonia Maps, has meant seeing how the human hand affects the development of ecosystems.
And it is that, for the biologist, man has forgotten the importance of the seas and oceans. In a nutshell, these vast bodies of water are the largest source of the oxygen we breathe (nearly 70%) and also absorb 90% of the CO2 that humans emit.
At this point, and over the years, the oceans have worked very hard. He also reiterated that “man cannot help but fish horribly”. It is very clear at this stage: unlike what is done on the surface, in the sea there is nothing to do. Neither is waiting for the species to regenerate.
However, due to the increase in temperature that will probably be experienced this year in the warm waters of the Mediterranean, the acidity of the water will carry away most of the marine flora and fauna. And with it, the Posidonia.
The so-called queen of the Mediterranean Sea is responsible for oxidation. It is also the most affected by rising temperatures. And, in addition, it holds the title of being one of the oldest living beings on the planet.
A plant, not an algae, with a lifespan of at least 4,500 years may be coming to an end. It is estimated that, each year, the volume of Posidonia disappears by 6%. In addition to mistreatment of the seabed, ships are the main cause of this situation. Pollution, and especially where ships are moored, is a deadly threat to a factory with a long and much-needed history.
The Google Maps for boats
The objective of the Posidonia Map is clear: provide ships with a simple tool to know where to stop and where not to. With heat maps and measurements of the state and condition of the Posidonia, the best places are shown to be more respectful of the environment.
Created in collaboration with the Vellmarí Association, Movired and OCEANSNELL, the idea starts from the mapping of a very specific area. Subsequently, the rest of the coasts of the island of Formentera were exhaustively mapped using side-scan sonar. In this way, information is obtained at the time of the birth of the herbaria.
And although the map shows the entire planet, currently only works in this part of the Balearic Islands. The objective, and due to the success obtained in the study of the seabed, was to extend its application to the entire island territory.
In addition to restoring what was lost with the new Posidonia plantation. San Félix concludes: “Because it is not a question of continuing to destroy, but of improving.”