Lately, the crew at Ocean Unlimited and Go Pro Costa Rica have been sharing our knowledge and passion for Marine Conservation in the community.
We have a great program where every 2 weeks one of the Oceans of Go Pro crew gives a presentation on a marine conservation topic to the Global Vision International Volunteers (GVI) These topics have included Coral Reefs, sea turtles, sharks and more.
The GVI group are volunteering in El Cocal, a small coastal community just outside of Quepos, which you can only visit by boat. GVI are running various community projects including a kids club, women’s group and teaching english. After receiving the marine presentation they are then teaching the concepts to the kids, a great way to share knowledge, who knows there might be some budding oceanographers out there! One of the big problems facing the Coal community is trash disposal, there is no government funded trash disposal on the island, and locals need to take their trash on the ferry to dispose of it.
Therefore, it is not easy for the community to dispose of trash easily and trash dumping has become more commonplace. The island is only a couple feet above sea level, and the island regularly floods at high tide. It is all too easy for the trash to enter the Ocean.
Each year the Ocean Conservancy organizes the International Coastal Clean Up, where thousands of people around the world pick up trash on beaches, estuaries and mangroves. Data is collected on what marine debris is found, all the data is entered into a database which helps scientists monitor the global trends in debris and therefore how we can tackle the problem..
The week before the International Coastal Clean Up we gave a talk on Marine Debris to the GVI group. Many of the volunteers knew something about marine debris, but many did not know what a big problem it is and what a danger to marine creatures. For instance, trash floating on ocean surface is mistaken for food by seabirds and turtles, causes choking and starvation.
Plastic bags and fishing lines can wrap around marine life and kill them. Plastics slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces which are eaten by various marine creatures. Plastic is a big problem, as it never truly goes away; it just breaks down into smaller pieces.
That means that every piece of plastic that was ever used is still around today.
6.4 million tonnes of Marine Debris are entering our oceans every year or that’s like 3,200 km of trucks each loaded with garbage. Something needs to be done!Luckily we could think of many ways that we are individuals can help to change the tide of trash; like avoiding single use plastics, reusing and recycling. The GVI volunteers then shared their new knowledge with the kids and on International Coastal Clean Up day we all removed nearly 300 pounds of trash from the beaches of El Cocal. That included about 100 plastic bottles, 230 plastic bottle caps, 111 straws, and almost 50 plastic bags.
Every piece was prevented from going into the ocean, and potentially harming a sea creature.
Together we can do this!