Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Students Participate in Marine Litter Campaign

Hol Chan Marine Reserve
by Mariela Archer, Environmental Educator

 High school student, Ramon's dive shop and Marine Reserve Staff at beach cleanup site

    The Hol Chan and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve are working on a marine litter program, which is sponsored by GCFI (Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute) and CAMPAM network and forum. The objective of the project is to reduce the amount of marine litter released into waters of the Caribbean region especially within protected areas.
    Through this project we want to increase the public’s awareness of the impacts of marine litter to the marine environment and health of local communities. The approach is through encouraging and developing best practices for litter management.
    On Saturday, October 2, 2010, a group of 22 high school students went to the turtle nesting beach of Robles Point in Bacalar Chico for a beach cleanup. The area is an important nesting ground for Logger Head and Green Turtles but it is filled with marine debris. Staff Biologist have been studying turtle nesting activities in this beach and have found that the large amount of trash is having negative effects on nesting turtle. Therefore, we have been conducting frequent beach cleanup campaigns to control the marine debris problem in this area.
    The students were given a briefing on the importance of the area and the impacts of the debris. A total of 40 bags of trash were removed from the beach. In addition, other activities will be carried out through this project including placing of trash receptacles in certain schools which will serve as a recycling project for plastic bottles.
    Special thanks go out to Ramon's Dive Shop for providing a boat and two members of staff to assist in the cleanup.

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