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Environmental analysis and beach clean up at the end of the runway

RAF Gibraltar recently enabled The Nautilus Project to conduct environmental analysis and a beach clean-up on a small stretch of shoreline towards the end of the Gibraltar Runway, a location that cannot be accessed by the general public.

The RAF Air Safety Manager along with the co-founder and the marine biologist/researcher of The Nautilus Project, Lewis Stagnetto, both gave a safety brief before walking to the location with the essential equipment for the students who are currently working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

“The beach rarely gets used, if at all. The aim of today’s clean-up is to collect as much FOD [Foreign Object Debris] as possible which is always a hazard on any airfield. Being part of the MOD, we always have a responsibility for the lands that we manage which our bases and our units are on,” said Air Safety Manager, Flight Lieutenant Alistair Nurse.

“I’ve recently been reading a lot about RAF Akrotiri and how their beaches have a thriving population for the sea turtles. We have a small estate here in Gibraltar, but it is vitally important that we look after it.”

The beach at the end of the runway is closed off to the public and is only accessible to MOD personnel who are required to work in this area. During the clean-up, the students managed to collect 80kg of debris, which was placed in plastic containers, returned to their van through the use of a trolley and then disposed of.

“This is a very important site because unlike the other beaches where they have machinery to clean the beach, the general public or machinery are not allowed here,” said Mr Stagnetto.

“What we are able to do here, because there are no people able to use this, we are able to see the comparison and to examine how much of the debris is arriving from the ocean. It is a really important piece of work that we are doing here.”

“One of the charity’s main priorities is to make sure we give our youngsters the skills they need especially if they are going to do any of the STEM subjects in university.”

“Here they are learning survey skills and procedures and they will build on that knowledge as they continue working with us.”

“It’s good for us to have great working relationships with the whole community and it’s fantastic to be able to have this opportunity to work with the RAF and the MOD and I am very happy to be able to have been granted access,” he added.

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