Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup

Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal CleanupOcean Conservancy's International Coastal CleanupThe Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS), part of the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program, is located within the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies at the University of the Virgin Islands. They outreach with the Virgin Islands community to educate and raise awareness about #plasticpollution and #marinedebris and foster appreciation for our natural resources like corals and fish, endangered species, mangrove forests, and marine protected areas.
In an effort to reduce the amount of marine debris in VI waters, the St. Croix VIMAS office coordinates local “Coastweeks,” International Coastal Cleanup activities for the The Ocean Conservancy. For the past 30 years, The Ocean Conservancy has inspired millions of people to assist with the cause for healthier seas around the world.
Marine Debris is simply trash that has found its way into the marine environment (beaches, waters, mangrove areas or underwater reefs and seagrass beds). Marine debris can be found in all the world’s oceans, but the problem doesn’t necessarily start there. About 80% of the debris found on our beaches and in our waters is blown, washed or dumped from land-based sources. Common land-based sources include people hosting picnics at the beach, poorly-maintained garbage trucks, garbage bins and dumps, and litterbugs. Marine debris is a serious problem not only for animals, but for people too. Marine organisms and people can become entangled in or injured by marine debris. Boat propellers can tangle up in debris, requiring expensive repairs. And many marine animals actually eat marine debris by mistake.
Not only do Coastal Cleanup programs raise awareness of our oceans, but gather valuable information about marine debris that is used by law and policy makers worldwide. Volunteers of all ages record/document data like what kinds of trash they pick up and how much. This data is then returned to The Ocean Conservancy who then analyze and generate a yearly report summarizing all the data collected from all participating countries. This data is great for teachers who want to promote healthy oceans in the classroom.
Be part of the effort! Saturday, September, 16, 8 – 10 am, is the Coastweeks Clean Up Kick Off at Southgate Coastal Reserve. Join others worldwide to clean up and quantify coastal trash. St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) provides trash bags, gloves, tally sheets, and drinking water (please bring a reusable bottle). Students receive community service hours.
For more information or to volunteer, call or go online.
www.vimas.uvi.edu – 340-692-4046 – Facebook
www.stxenvironmental.org – 340-773-1989 – Facebook
www.oceanconservancy.com – Facebook

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