Making a Plan: Removal and Awareness of Marine Debris in Coastal Puerto Rico
Scuba Dogs Society will remove marine debris from three coastal village communities that were impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and develop a Marine Debris Community Action and Response Plan.
Type of Project: Removal
Region: The Caribbean
Project Dates: December 2021 - April 2023
Who is involved?
With the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program marine debris removal grant, Scuba Dogs Society will remove marine debris from the coastal communities of Playita, Las Margaritas, and Herrera fishing villages in Puerto Rico. They will also lead the development of a Marine Debris Community Action and Response Plan and provide outreach and educational activities that increase awareness and promote marine debris prevention in coastal communities.
What is the project and why is it important?
Solid waste management is a challenging issue on islands, where space and resources can be limited. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria generated large amounts of debris, waste disposal worsened into a crisis in Playita, Las Margaritas, and Herrera fishing villages in Puerto Rico. In the Herrera River, so much debris is trapped by an abandoned dock that it is now altering the flow of the river. Throughout the area, marine debris, such as derelict vessels and cars, construction debris, fishing gear, and household items, is negatively impacting sensitive coastal ecosystems that support brown pelicans, sea turtles, and important recreational and commercial fish species.
To address these issues, Scuba Dogs Society will remove 195,000 pounds of debris from mangrove, riverine, and marine environments in the three fishing village communities. They will work to promote environmental stewardship by engaging community volunteers in removal efforts and in the creation of a Marine Debris Community Action and Response Plan. The Plan will provide communities with guidance and waste disposal tools to use during future debris-generating events. Scuba Dogs Society will also lead outreach and education activities in each community to increase awareness of marine debris impacts and promote long-term prevention efforts.
For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse.