SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – TelEm Group in collaboration with the Nature Foundation are joining forces to increase public awareness about endangered coral reefs in surrounding St. Maarten waters.
The joint effort has seen the placement of special donation boxes at various TelEm Group locations along with public awareness flyers about the threat to coral reefs around the island and why steps should be taken to protect them.
It also features an SMS fundraiser hosted by TelEm Group and from which all funds raised will be donated to the Nature Foundation.
The public awareness campaign got under way, Monday, February 24, 2020, with the first of nine SMS questions related to coral reef preservation.
Campaign organizers say the questions will be broadcast every Monday and Friday for a month, but persons who want to donate directly can do so through the donation boxes that have been placed at all TelEm Group locations.
The campaign organizers say visitors from all around the world travel to St. Maarten to enjoy the island’s beautiful coral reefs while scuba diving or snorkeling, and say the same coral reefs cause our waters to be crystal clear, protect coastlines and provide a home for many different marine species.
“The economy of St Maarten depends on the tourist industry; however little attention is paid by government and residents to the health and importance of our coral reefs. If we do not have corals, many tourists will choose to enjoy their vacation somewhere else, causing large losses in income for St Maarten, loss of jobs and an average decrease in wealth and access to medical care, increasing poverty,” said the Nature Foundation in a release about its current public awareness campaign.
The foundation points to its own previous studies showing reefs contribute about USD$50 million to the St. Maarten economy annually, yet sadly they have been facing significant challenges despite the current protective legislation.
“Without coral reefs, St Maarten will be much more prone to storms and flooding’s, as waves will hit coastal neighborhoods with more force destroying vulnerable communities and housing. If we do not have coral reefs, local fish stocks will deplete, fishermen will be out of a job and the healthy protein fish sources will need to be imported from other islands, increasing poverty and decreasing the access to healthy food. Enough reasons to show the need to protect our coral reefs and increase awareness of this subject by locals, government and the youth, as currently common knowledge about coral reefs and especially their significance is far under average,” says the Nature Foundation.
TelEm Group customers and members of the public are being asked to give generously to the coral reef cause by helping to full the provided donations boxes with cash. Persons interested in donation can also do so by donating credit amounts via SMS Credit Transfer (CT). To donate between a minimum of $5 and a maximum of $200, please SMS to 6663 CT + 5299000 + (the amount you wish to donate). To donate $5 to save St. Maarten reefs, SMS CT 5299000 5.