Celebrate World Oceans Day with a Cleanup in St. Maarten

Celebrate World Oceans Day with a Cleanup in St. Maarten

Philipsburg, SINT MAARTEN – Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, and Plastic Free SXM are joining forces for a beach cleanup on Saturday, June 8th, in honor of World Oceans Day. The cleanups will take place at Great Bay Beach, Little Bay Beach, and Simpson Bay Lagoon from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM.

World Oceans Day prompts us to consider the vital role of our oceans and the urgency of conservation efforts. Pollution persists despite regular beach cleanups on the island. In the last major cleanup, the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), over 2,000 pounds of trash were collected, of which 763.4 pounds were glass and 40% was plastic bottles.

Three organizations will be doing more this year, going to multiple locations to heighten awareness of plastic pollution threatening local marine environments, public health, and the economy. 

“Simpson Bay Lagoon frequently captures harmful debris from the surrounding areas, posing a serious threat to marine life,” Leslie Hickerson, Manager of Nature Foundation, emphasized. “Our cleanup is essential for protecting these waters and maintaining ecosystem health.” 

Allies like Tri-Sport and IGY Marina have also partnered with the SMDF for this vital initiative. Tri-Sport has provided kayaks to reach the lagoon’s inaccessible areas while IGY Marina has stepped up by lending tenders to aid in garbage collection from the kayakers and providing food and water to volunteers.

Meanwhile, EPIC is targeting Little Bay (Bel Air) Beach and Little Bay Pond, a crucial foraging site for pelicans where trash quickly accumulates.  

“Little Bay Pond is not only naturally beautiful, but also essential for our national bird, the Brown pelican, and many other important species, such as our mangroves explained Fleur Hermanides, EPIC Board President. “Our cleanup initiative strives to ensure a safe habitat for these vulnerable species. Each volunteer’s contribution is vital to preserve this important ecosystem.” 

Tackling plastic pollution is a shared responsibility, noted Melanie Choisy of Plastic Free SXM, who will be leading the clean-up at Great Bay B

“Addressing plastic pollution in our coastal areas is imperative, not only for environmental and marine health, but also for our community’s well-being. By cleaning up these areas, we reduce these risks and move towards a healthier, plastic-free St. Maarten,” she said. “This is a chance for St. Maarten’s community to come together and make a tangible difference.”

Community members are encouraged to join the cleanup by registering at www.volunteer.sx. Together, we can help preserve the natural beauty of St. Maarten’s coastlines. Remember to bring closed-toe shoes, reusable water bottles, hats, and reef-safe sunscreen. We will provide gloves, garbage bags, refreshments, and prizes!

The event is a collaborative effort involving Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, and Plastic Free SXM, a project under the execution of the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and the Government of Sint Maarten. This project is supported by the Resilience, Sustainable Energy, and Marine Biodiversity (RESEMBID) programme. RESEMBID is a 47-project programme funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France – the development cooperation agency of the Government of France and supports sustainable human development efforts in 12 Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) – Aruba, Anguilla, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten, and Turks and Caicos.

For more information, please visit [Volunteer.sx](https://www.volunteer.sx) or contact SMDF at 543-7711 or info@smdf.sx.

 

About the Collaborators

Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC)

EPIC is dedicated to the protection of the Caribbean environment through research and community-based initiatives.

St. Maarten Nature Foundation

The Nature Foundation is focused on managing and preserving St. Maarten’s natural environment and promoting sustainable practices.

Plastic Free SXM

The Plastic Free SXM project improves the management of single-use plastics and Styrofoam and increases public awareness on the environmental effects of plastic pollution.

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