Volunteers removing a derelict fishing net from the shoreline.

Aventureros Averting Plastics for a Better Baja

The Vermilion Sea Institute is expanding the work and research of local youth in the Aventureros educational program to support the Bahía de los Ángeles community in Baja California, Mexico in reducing single-use plastics and waste.

Type of Project: North America Marine Debris Prevention and Removal

Region: Mexico

Project Dates: October 2022 - March 2024

Who is involved?
With the support of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, the Vermilion Sea Institute is working alongside the Aventureros and other local youth to become community marine debris prevention leaders. Other key partners on the project include Marea Viva and local restaurants.

What is the project and why is it important?
Bahía de los Ángeles is a coastal town along the coast of Baja California, Mexico. While the local population is small, the town attracts tourists year-round due to its warm weather and designation as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Marine World Heritage Site. This influx of tourists, coupled with the need for more waste disposal options, has resulted in large amounts of plastic waste and trash throughout the town’s beaches and wetlands, impacting important marine ecosystems and community food sources.

The Vermilion Sea Field Station (VSFS) is located in Bahía de los Ángeles and is the home of the Aventureros program, a free year-round youth program that supports local students, ages 7-17, in discovering and caring for the marine and terrestrial worlds around them to grow into the next generation of conservation leaders. Using previously collected local marine debris data, Vermilion Sea Institute team members are working alongside Aventureros to tackle marine debris at its source through a place-based debris prevention initiative: Aventureros Averting Plastics for a Better Baja. Together they are installing four community-designed plastic waste receptacles and implementing a collection process where plastics are upcycled to create eco-bricks that can be used for sustainable construction projects. Marea Viva, a local women’s community group, is helping to design and run the new plastic disposal system. This initiative is also engaging local community members and businesses by hosting monthly beach and desert cleanup events, recruiting restaurants to participate in a sustainable takeout container subscription service, and supporting their position as the experts central to marine debris monitoring and prevention in their community. 

Project partners will also publish a peer-reviewed paper, co-authored by VSFS scientists and Aventureros youth, for the purpose of supporting other communities who are interested in replicating a similar effort. This project and approach presents a unique opportunity to reduce marine debris through the co-development of prevention strategies that can be used locally and globally.

The Aventureros participating in a community engagement event on prevention, monitoring, and cleanup in Baja California, Mexico (Credit: Vermilion Sea Institute).
Last updated Tue, 05/21/2024 - 05:08 pm EDT