We proudly participated in World Cleanup Day on 21st September 2019 with our favorite students at Lihuna Junior High School here on Bangka Island. Joined again by the Seasoldiers from Manado, we started the day with a classroom lesson on seagrass, to teach the students about the vital role it plays in environment here (and everywhere).
Why is seagrass so special, and why does it need looking after?
First of all, seagrass is a plant like any other that takes carbon out of the environment and releases oxygen via photosynthesis which is what our carbon heavy atmosphere needs right now. It’s roots prevent sand from being eroded and washed onto neighboring corals and it provides shelter for young fish and invertebrates. Green turtles and the much loved dugong, who needs up to 40kg of seagrass a day, rely on the seagrass for food.
But seagrasses around the world are in decline. They’re under threat from poor farming and boating practices, and by resort owners who remove seagrass believing it to be unattractive to guests that prefer white sand.
Education on why seagrass is special and worth taking care of is the first step in taking care of it, hence our lesson today.
After the class, we were joined by more willing students coming together as an army of litter pickers. We headed to battle with our enemy, trash, on the mangrove battle field. In less than an hour all of the 60-liter bags were full with rubbish, recyclables and 2 bags dedicated solely (pun intended) to lost shoes. If anyone knows how to recycle a flip flop, get in touch!
The students’ energy was contagious. As we worked, we told to the students about World Clean up Day, explaining that they were part of something global. It was empowering to think of the millions of individuals taking action all over the world.
As we walked through the village to take the bags to the beach for a boat to collect them the next day, we were greeted by intrigued friendly locals. Setting examples for the current and future custodians of this environment is an important part of our work here.
After a rest and some team photography, more trash bags materialized from somewhere and the army re-brigaded to tackle the beach. Another 15 bags were filled with mostly recyclable plastics and in total our World Clean Up Day rescued 37 60-liter bags of recyclables and trash from the mangroves, beach and seagrass-rich water.
These invaluable education days cost €100 per day for transportation, wages and materials. You can donate to our project here.
Please follow us @notrashtriangle on Instagram to keep up to date with work on the ground. Terima kasih!