PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — This past week, the Nature Foundation partnered with the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) and the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau alongside the Real Madrid Foundation to organize two beach clean-ups. These two clean-ups were a part of the Nature Foundation’s newest project In-No-Plastic and took place on Mullet Bay Beach and Belair Beach. Participants collected a total of 446 kilograms (984 pounds) of debris from the shoreline.
“AUC and Real Madrid students went above and beyond with picking up the trash. We are thankful for their help and commitment to keeping St. Maarten’s beaches clean. The Real Madrid students were very competitive, with some groups digging out a boat hull from the sand, weighing 30 kilograms (66 pounds),” stated Alice Manley, project coordinator for In-No-Plastic on St. Maarten.
The clean-up with AUC on Saturday July 24th at Mullet Bay Beach, was a part of their Community Action Day, organized by the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity. Community Action Day takes place every semester, and the clean ups are an essential contribution to St. Maarten. The AUC students used the Nature Foundation’s reusable burlap sacks to collect the litter, picking up a total of 223 kilograms (492 pounds) of trash alongside the road and on Mullet Bay. The litter picked up included plastics, paper, wood, aluminium and various other items. The prizes gifted to the teams who picked up the most trash included reef friendly Raw Elements Sunscreen products donated by Agrinature Caribbean.
The clean-up partnered with Real Madrid on Wednesday July 28th, was located at Belair Beach during World Nature Conservation Day. Real Madrid has collaborated with the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, the Sports Department, and Flames United Football Club SXM to give back to the island’s youth. Several young students participated in games and competitions while cleaning up the garbage on and around the beach with the Nature Foundation. Collectively, the students picked up an astounding 223 kilograms (492 pounds) of garbage. The litter picked up included car parts, boat parts, plastics, paper, wood, aluminium and various other items. Teams that picked up the most garbage received Nature Foundation prize packs.
“We would like to thank AUC, Real Madrid, and the Tourism Bureau for their commitment to helping keep our beaches clean. The In-No-Plastic project will be hosting more events like this around the island. If you are a teacher or a group leader, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to organize clean-ups with your students,” continued Alice Manley.
In-No-Plastic is a three-year EU funded project within the Horizon 2020 framework programme, with the goal to develop and demonstrate nano-, micro-, and macro- plastic clean-up technologies in the aquatic ecosystems. This project will incorporate technical and social strategies on St. Maarten’s lagoons, shores, and shallow sea water. Within this project, the Nature Foundation will bi-annually test the water for micro plastics, host more beach clean-ups around the island, and incorporate a blue economy using an App on Sint Maarten. An association of 17 partners and 10 different countries in Europe and the Caribbean. The Nature Foundation will work alongside the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), a participating partner with In-No-Plastic.