Volunteers come out for annual clean-up

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PHILIPSBURG–The Nature Foundation organised a beach clean-up at Simpson Bay Beach on Sunday in collaboration with the Dutch-based Boskalis Beach Clean-up Tour, as part of the “Save our Sharks” project.

The Beach Clean-up Tour is an initiative of the North Sea Foundation whereby business, consumers, civil society and government clean the entire Dutch coast. This year the clean-ups were held throughout the entire kingdom for the first time with all the Dutch Caribbean islands participating.

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Eighty-five volunteers showed up to help preserve nature, marine life and wildlife on St. Maarten by clearing away items littering Simpson Bay Beach. Around 200 kilograms of refuse was collected, including straws, plastic bottles, cans and large car tires. The volunteers participated in the beach clean-up for more than two hours and learned about the major impacts of trash on the local environment.

The Nature Foundation also explained all possibilities to reduce plastic waste, such as the use of paper straws instead of plastic straws, reusable cutlery and reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags.

The first 50 participants received the first reusable shopping bags from the “Save our Sharks” project. This is a great example of how residents can reduce plastic waste. The Foundation is asking the community to stop accepting single-use plastic bags at stores, as these bags have a significant negative impact on the local environment and wildlife.

Birds are often found dead with stomachs filled with plastic and marine life often entangles in plastic waste, killing it. Research also shows that 48 per cent of fish humans consume contains plastic.

“Especially as an island nation, we depend on our oceans. Tourists come from afar to see our beautiful marine life. Therefore, we also need to have a clean ocean as a priority,” said Nature Foundation Project Manager Melanie Meijer Zu-Schlochtern.

The Foundation thanked Karakter Beach Bar for its support by providing drinks for all participants. Karakter already uses recyclable plastic cups and announced during the clean-up that it will start to use paper straws instead of plastic straws. The Nature Foundation hopes more establishments will follow this initiative.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68537-volunteers-come-out-for-annual-clean-up

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