>SIMPSON BAY, Sint Maarten — The Nature Foundation St Maarten partnered with Corona to clean up Mullet Bay Beach for International Coastal Clean-up day. About 100 volunteers showed up last Saturday evening to collect a record amount of 1280 pounds of trash! The Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organization 4ocean has been used to weigh all the collected trash. Corona thanked all participants with a cold beer, prices and goodies were won by the largest trash collectors; the French ladies group ‘Police’, family ‘Sweetman’ and ‘JCI St. Maarten’.
“The highest amount of trash has been collected since we started the Trash Tracker method beginning this year. We did not expect such a large turnout, the weighing station was much occupied and some people therefore skipped weighing their collected trash, definitely even more trash has been collected than weighted. At least 9 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans each year, a rate that has increased 100 times in the past 40 years. If current trends continue there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. On Saturday we prevented more than 1000 pounds of trash to enter our oceans, all little bits are helping in the fight against ocean pollution” stated Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Volunteers from CC1, Rotary club, Rotaract, Les Fruits de Mer, JCI St Maarten and Nature Foundation St Maarten were all active trash collectors during the International Coastal Cleanup event. St Maarten is a beautiful island that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. The Nature Foundation and Corona want to keep it that way. The community’s help in cleaning up and reducing plastic waste will go a long way in ensuring the preservation of the beauty Sint Maarten is known for.
“Everyone deserves to have a beer on a clean beach at sunset. As we are all part of the pollution problem, we can be part of the solution which means we are also capable of changing things for good – it starts with a simple beach cleanup and hopefully will be part of our everyday concerns. This is why the success of this event matters a lot” expressed Jade Ladal, Trade Marketing Coordinator for Corona St. Maarten.
The International Coastal Cleanup Event was part of the Reduce & Reuse St Maarten’ project, through this project the Foundation fights plastic pollution and is teaching and encouraging residents, children and businesses to reduce their plastic waste output and clean-up the environment. Part of the project is to lobby for a Single-use plastic ban, as awareness on its own will not reduce the massive amounts of waste created and left behind on beaches and in the environment. In order to protect our environment for the generations to come, to reduce our landfill and to changes St Maarten’s image of a garbage island into an eco-friendly destination, a ban on single-use plastics is needed.