International Coastal Cleanup Day
The Guardians of Mother Earth of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace (GEAP) in Puerto Rico, in coordination with the Scuba Dogs Society and the municipality of Ponce, met in the Laguna de las Salinas and the coast of the Punta Natural Reserve Spoons, to celebrate the International Coastal Cleanup Day.
1,621 pounds of marine litter were collected by volunteers during the tour of these areas. The day had the support of Environmental Control of the Municipality of Ponce, who classified and took the waste.
Different educational and ecological institutions joined the Ocean Conservancy's 30-year celebration in more than 130 countries. Between them:
- Green your Community
- Vigilantes Corps of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources
- Pro-Agriculture Student Coalition
- University of Puerto Rico Ponce campus
- University Pro-Environment and Biodiversity
- Green Building & Sustainability Group RUM
- The Honorary Society of Biology Beta Beta Beta
- Superior School Lila Mayoral Wirshing
Protect the species!
The representative of the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, Eduardo Llegus Santiago, said that the Punta Cucharas natural reserve is an area that needs attention not only from the Government but also from the civil society, considering the high ecological and socio-economic value it represents for the municipality of Ponce.
Also, Llegus Santiago said that debris, bags and plastic bottles are objects of local concern because they represent a threat to the 148 species of flora, 56 of birds and marine fauna that inhabit the reserve.
The professor of Environmental Sciences of the Superior School Lila Mayoral Wirshing, Roberto Batista, stressed the importance of applying the 3R’s (Reuse, Recycle and Reduce), to avoid contamination.
"We know that pollution on our coasts, in our waters, in the air, has been increasing; for this reason, it is important to keep our coasts clean." The president of the Student Council of the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, Juan José de Jesús Oquendo, said.
Law Number 308 of 2002
In Puerto Rico, Law Number 308 was enacted on December 25, 2002, which increases the penalties for people throwing garbage and waste out of landfills. The established fines range from $100 to $5,000.00.
This action has not been enough to prevent people from continuing to leave trash on beaches and reserves. For this reason, the GEAP invites citizens to become Guardians for the Peace of Mother Earth, to care for and protect natural resources.