Cleaning the desert
El Jable Lanzarote

Litter collection & recycling

Despite of the remoteness and the deserted aspect of El Jable, there is a lot of rubbish everywhere. Fly tipping is also a problem but besides that the plane is littered by many beer bottles and cans, plastic and other type of debris.

During our field dates we have already collected and recycled

Kg of residues

While cleaning the bottles and cans, we saw that small animals sometimes get trapped inside and die. Lizards, geckos, shrews, snails, insects just cannot resist the sugar in the remnants of beer.


Depending on the position, the bottle or the can could become a deadly trap.

protecting wildlife

ProjecT in the can

While cleaning the cans we sometimes find live animals inside, sometimes they are dead. But more than live or dead animals, we are finding cans with a hole on the side. It took us some time to figure this all out: it is the ravens who found their opportunity to feast. We can sometimes watch them hopping on the ground and “probing” the cans with their beak. Scavengers as they are, they can eat the animals both alive and dead.

We could even observe a raven flying with the can in its beak, carrying it in true take out style.

Observing all this we decided to learn more from it. We divided the desert in quadrants and tetrads and clean rubbish one by one. We don´t return to a quadrant once it has been cleaned. That we will do only after we´ve finished all quadrants.

We clean everything, but only register cans and bottles. On a special application that georeferences biological data we register the position, whether it is a can or a bottle, which brand, whether it had animals (live or dead) inside, whether it has been opened by ravens and the name of the person who registered the data. If there are animals present, we take a photo or a video, also of the raven holes.

This all can teach us many things: how the human rubbish impacts on the mortality of the small animals in the desert, on the behaviour of the ravens and since insect in El Jable have not been studied and many of them are nocturnal, from the dead ones we can also get an idea of what species live in the desert!

Right now, there is an ongoing research done by a graduate student of the University of Chester in the UK, who is working on the impact of the rubbish on the animals in the desert. READ MORE 

The Project in a Can also got the sponsorship of SEO Birdlife and Ecoembes as one of the LIBERA projects.


We want to understand the behavior and abilities of animals to search for food.