In the spirit of World Oceans Day, dozens of volunteers from schools, along with their teachers and in cooperation with the Bat Yam municipality, collected garbage on Bat Yam’s Tayo Beach in an effort to prevent pollution of the Mediterranean Sea.

World Oceans Day, which falls on June 8, is an initiative that calls on people to display respect for the world’s oceans by endangered-species awareness campaigns, water-surfing and cleaning beaches.

Samuel Guelem, 46, a new immigrant from Bordeaux, France, launched the initiative to clean Tayo Beach. He made aliyah with his family through the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews less than a year ago, arriving in Israel in July 2019.

In France, he was involved in an event-planning company. After moving to Israel, he settled in Bat Yam and visited the beach regularly.

“I’m not an experienced environmental activist, but I suddenly saw the state of the beaches here and unlike France, this is my country,” he said.

After seeing the state in which the beach had been left in, Guelem created a Facebook group called “Clean Beach” that brought activists and volunteers together to clean the beach twice a week, except during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The volunteers who come here answered a preliminary questionnaire that was used to help us make sure they were really serious about the willingness to persevere, arrive and clean up the beaches,” explained Guelem. “We now have over 200 volunteers, and every week are approximately 30 different volunteers who come by. We plan to expand our operations and to offer our volunteers enrichment workshops in the environment field of study. I also aspire to eventually expand our operations to more localities in the country.”

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