With the impact of Irma, now more than ever the coasts need help. Coastweeks is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of marine debris and its impacts to Virgin Islands beaches and marine resources. This year Coastweeks will be celebrated from Sept. 16 through Oct. 31. The University of the Virgin Islands’ Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) will be assisting local groups, clubs and schools to organize and conduct shoreline and underwater cleanups.
This year we are partnering with the V.I. Waste Management Authority (VIWMA), which will be helping to transport and dispose of the trash that is collected. Groups are invited to participate in a cleanup at their favorite beach or underwater reef.
VIMAS is encouraging St. Croix groups to organize their cleanups on Sept. 16, the date of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). On this day, volunteers from the V.I. will join thousands of people from more than 80 countries worldwide in the planet’s largest volunteer cleanup on behalf of the marine environment. If any group is not able to participate on that day, any date (or several) between Sept. 16 and Oct. 31 would be as helpful.
VIMAS will assist people by providing garbage bags, data cards and pencils, and it will send the data to The Ocean Conservancy after the event. VIMAS can also present information on marine debris to any group prior to the event and/or conduct follow-up activities after the cleanup upon request.
Coastweeks and International Coastal Cleanup are coordinated internationally by The Ocean Conservancy. They will analyze data from each country, state and territory and summarize the results, which will be available on their Web sites. Lawmakers and researchers will use these results to make polices to help reduce marine debris.
For more information or to find out currently scheduled cleanups, contact Marcia Taylor, St. Croix Coastweeks coordinator, at 692-4046.