Ecuador Environmental Protection
In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to provide constitutional protection for the environment. This does not mean that garbage is always deposited in a receptacle nor that all packaging is biodegradable. What it does mean, among many other things, is that students learn about the negative impact plastic in oceans and rivers have on the planet.
|Rings on beverage cans can kill marine life.
From Manabi Province Environment Ministry Tweet
Since 2010, Ecuador’s Environment Ministry has been leading a September cleanup as part of International Beach Cleaning Day, promoted by the International Ocean Conservancy Organization. Volunteers take action when others leave garbage behind. It is often easier to begin taking action when you are surrounded by friends doing the same. The Environment Ministry hosted Accion por el Planeta beach cleanup day on September 30, 2017. (Note the September 16 international day this year was during Ecuador school holidays. Ecuador waited until school resumed before hosting their day.)
At the Puerto Lopez meeting point, volunteers congregated, obtained motivational words on why we were here, obtained supplies, then dispersed and began cleaning the beach.
|Volunteers, primarily high school students, cleaning Puerto Lopez beach
September 30, 2017
Each five member team had a bag, gloves, paper and pen. Together they filled the bag and documented what they collected. These stats will go into national and international databases and become important data points when discussing what is heading into or washing up from the ocean.
Once teams filled the bags, they finished their paperwork.
|Teams assisting each other with paperwork|
As bags filled up, they were easier to manage with two people carrying them.
|Lightening the load with a teammate|
Once the beach was clean, everyone hung around for a snack, a drink, and some pictures. The girls below asked for a shot with my friend Kelley and I but I neglected to ask how we would get a copy to them. Hope they read my blog…
|Fun photo frame in Puerto Lopez|
Kelley spearheads the Sunday doMinga beach cleanups I wrote about here. Perhaps some of the volunteers from the national cleanup will join the weekly efforts.
I was impressed that police, military, national park employees, vacationers and locals all joined the students in this volunteer effort.
Elsewhere in Ecuador, Galapagos Ocean Floors Included
On the Galapagos Islands, there were 50 meetup locations for volunteers on five islands. Some of them cleaned the ocean floor – check out the tweet below.
|They dove to clean the Galapagos at the pier, Etica Bay, and Franklin Bay.|
The Environment Ministry published nationwide statistics from the September 30 Accion por el Planeta beach cleanup.
- About 39,000 volunteers
- 317 cleanup sites
- More than 834 kilometers cleaned
- Ocean floors
- 182,389.77 kilograms of solid waste
Want to schedule or participate in a cleanup near you? Check the Ocean Conservancy beach cleanup locations here.
Click here to read more about Puerto Lopez.