Developing a Bilingual Marine Debris Curriculum for Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Sea Grant will develop a bilingual marine debris curriculum to educate students in grades 4-12 about the sources and impacts of marine debris and to promote behavior change through hands-on activities involving teachers, students, and their families.
Type of Project: NOAA Sea Grant-Marine Debris Program Partnership
Region: The Caribbean
Project Dates: July 2021 - June 2023
Who is involved?
In partnership with the National Sea Grant and the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Puerto Rico Sea Grant will create and implement a bilingual curriculum to introduce students to a variety of marine debris topics and provide opportunities for students and their families to participate in coastal cleanup activities.
What is the project and why is it important?
There is an urgent need to change attitudes and behaviors toward solid waste disposal in Puerto Rico, where the estimated daily amount of solid waste produced per person, on average, is over a pound more than on the U.S. mainland. This is aggravated by limited recycling opportunities, low recycling rates (9-14%), and few landfills staying in compliance with environmental regulations. The most effective action to address the growing marine debris problem in Puerto Rico is through a comprehensive information, awareness, and education program that produces meaningful, long-term behavior change to prevent marine debris.
Puerto Rico Sea Grant will take the lead in the creation of a marine debris curriculum to educate students in grades 4-12 about the sources of marine debris, how it impacts coastal and marine ecosystems, and the real steps they can take to reduce debris in their communities. The curriculum, which will be offered in both Spanish and English, will also highlight how marine debris impacts tourism and marine recreation industries, marine and coastal wildlife, human health, and navigation safety. Education specialists from Puerto Rico Sea Grant will coordinate a two-day workshop for local teachers to prepare them for the curriculum with training, teaching materials, and resources. Outside the classroom, the program will encourage students to participate in coastal cleanup activities with their families, providing a holistic component for the whole family to learn about proper disposal habits.