Lanzarote has some of the best beaches in Europe, and most of them are extremely well maintained and clean. Combined with what many call “the best climate in the world”, and the incredible, unique volcanic landscape of the island which provides a stunning backdrop at many, they are the perfect place to spend the day. You can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, beach tennis, beach volleyball and a host of other activities. Alternatively they are an amazing place just to relax reading a book, sunbathing or enjoying some lunch.
There are many tourist hot spot beaches such as in the main resorts of Puerto Del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise, and the beach of Arrecife. Due to the large number of tourists and locals who make use of these beaches on a daily basis these beaches are cleaned everyday by the local authorities. Due to this they more or less always look immaculate. Unfortunately the case cannot be said for some of the more remote and less touristic beaches.
Playa Famara in the north of the island is a popular beach due to its stunning cliff backdrop, and also the waves and wind. The conditions there are often ideal for surfing and kite-surfing. There are many surf schools located in Famara, and if you are on the beach there you will often see groups learning to surf. Due to the windy conditions it is not always the most popular place to sunbathe, although many people have constructed rock barriers to get around this problem.
Due to its location in the north away from the main tourist resorts, there are not so many tourists visiting the beach. Because of this you might think that the beach would be cleaner as there would be less people around to drop litter. In fact it is the opposite as it means the beach is not cleaned by the authorities as regularly due to fewer tourists. Playa Famara is an incredible beach but unfortunately if you look closely you will notice quite a substantial amount of litter. This includes bottle caps, crisp packets, cigarette butts, and many other bits of rubbish left by people who come to the beach.
Visitors to the beach are not the only ones to blame though. Due to the strong currents that arrive on the northern shores of Lanzarote, huge amounts of micro-plastic arrives on the beaches. This micro-plastic will have come from many other parts of the world. It is bits of plastic waste like bottles, containers, and packaging that have been eroded over time into tiny bits that are floating across the world in the oceans. These are terrible for wildlife in the sea, and also make the beaches look ugly!
Micro Plastic (Photo Credit: Carlos Reyes)

Luckily there is a growing public movement to try and counteract this. Most people agree that we should all cut down on the use of plastic, especially for unnecessary things like plastic bags, and instead switch to reusable canvas bags for example. There is also a team that meets at least once a month, or sometimes more regularly called “Famara Limpia” which means Clean Famara.

This is an organisation dedicated to keeping the beach at Famara clean from rubbish and micro plastic. They generally meet on the first Saturday of every month. This month though they met on the 14th of November. The Lanzarote Business and Residents Association think organisations and initiatives like this are very important, and like to support them in any way we can. As part of the LBRA team I was very happy to go along to this meeting with some friends.


There were about twenty people at the meet up, each eager to go out and help with the clean up operation. We set out with large bags and it didn’t take long to fill them with rubbish. In fact I managed to almost fill two large bags with rubbish and micro-plastic.

Me doing my bit! (Photo Credit: Carlos Reyes)

I was amazed and dismayed at how much rubbish there was on this beautiful beach. After a couple of hours there was a large pile of bin bags full of the rubbish that the team had collected.

While the amount of rubbish there is terrible, it was great to see the effort of volunteers and suggest that change is happening and it’s often lead by the public. This was also a good way to meet new people, and surprisingly fun!
If you would like to get involved and help out with future Famara clean-up operations then take a look at Limpia Famara’s Facebook Page for all the details and dates.

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