Marine Litter Grants

Citizen science as a management strategy for marine litter in the biosphere reserve of Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta, Colombian Caribbean (INVEMAR, Colombia)

In Colombia, about 65% of solid waste is discharged from natural water bodies. The Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta (CGSM) is the most productive coastal lagoon complex in Colombia Caribbean, is a RAMSAR wetland, and is an important place for migratory bird conservation. The CGSM has a big mangrove, where have been reported concentrations of marine litter between 15 and 728 items ha-1, which impact negatively the ecosystem; also in the mangrove sediments have been registered high microplastics concentrations between 31 and 2.863 items kg-1, which are affecting the CGSM environmental quality, and communities that live there; for this reason, is necessary an intervention through mechanisms oriented to reduce the pollution. The project objective is to implement a citizen science strategy to prevent the impacts of marine litter in the mangrove ecosystem, focused on strategies to ensure environmental sustainability through proper management of solid waste disposal.

Plastics Solutions Academy (Sea of Life, Belize)

In 2018 Belize passed a national policy to phase out all single use plastics. The policy represents an important step forward for a nation whose environment is central to its culture and economy. However, the policy lacks a clear implementation plan and enforcement mechanisms. Although local groups – including partner organizations Rotaract, Oceana, and Mr. Goby and Friends – continue to combat this issue with regular cleanups, the long-term solution will require reducing inputs of plastics into the ocean. Sea of Life (SoL) will host a Plastic Solutions Academy (PSA) to take place in Belize City, the most populated municipality in the nation and a seafront community. SoL will provide education, network opportunities, and capacity building for local stakeholders through a series of workshops. Participants will be supported in the development and piloting of locally designed solution to prevent and reduce marine litter in Belize. SoL will assist participants in gathering feedback on solutions from policy makers, private sector and the local community. SoL’s co-founder is a Belizean-American with experience contributing to the passage of the national plastic ban in Belize.

Reduit Beach and Vigie Marine Litter Prevention Research Project (Greening the Caribbean, Saint Lucia)

The Reduit Beach Marine Litter Prevention Research Project (The Project) will use cutting edge behavioral science approaches from trainings by the project team gained from The Center for Behavior and the Environment. The objective is to create more effective ways to prevent Saint Lucian residents littering at the Reduit Beach and Vigie Beach project sites. The team will confirm the target audience. The process will apply behavioral and social and design thinking to identify a solution that can put an end to beach littering specifically, and possibly littering in general. The Project will measure – to the greatest extent possible within the project period – the effectiveness of the environmental solution to solve the problem of marine litter caused by land based human behavior at Reduit Beach and Vigie Beach. The identified behavioral solution will be complemented by design and installation of high visibility anti–littering messaging/signage along foot and vehicle paths leading to the beachfront project sites.

Hybrid Grants

Community Based Conservation at Cuba’s Guanahacabibes National Park (The Ocean Foundation, Cuba)

Located on Cuba’s western tip, GNP is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (1987) and national park (1991). It is one of two Cuban MPAs listed by the SPAW Protocol. The northern coast of the peninsula is covered in dense mangrove wetlands and its southern coast has sandy beaches where two species of sea turtle nest. GNP’s location at the confluence of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and the fast-moving Yucatan Straits, leads to the accumulation of thousands kilograms of oceanic flotsam. GNP’s mangroves are in generally good condition. However, over the past three decades, there has been selective deforestation for timber and energy production by residents of La Fe, a hamlet located within the biosphere reserve. While logging has diminished, cleared mangrove areas are displaced by invasive vegetation. We will work with La Fe residents to remove invasive vegetation, plant red mangrove propagules, and routinely extract marine debris. GNP staff will coordinate beach cleanups every three months. Surveys/cleanups will be conducted by park staff and local community members. Debris will be photographed for documentation, removed, and where possible, re-used by communities.

Bluefields Bay MPA Marine Litter Research, Education and Multi-Site Cleanup Event (BBFFS, Jamaica)

Fishing is a key industry in the growing Bluefields community, with approximately 350 fisher-folk using this coastal-marine area for business and livelihood. In 2009, as development and pollution levels increased, BBFFS leaders foresaw a need to protect marine resources, and partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to declare the Bluefields Bay Special Fishery Conservation Area an MPA, one of the largest in Jamaica, at 1,375 hectares. This project, will enable the BBFFS to lead the community in building research and educational capacity to continue protecting the Bluefields Bay for years to come. It’s scope includes 1) repairing an existing patrol vessel to enable regular collection of marine litter data, the hosting of scientific groups for marine health research, plus a more efficient monitoring, protection and conservation effort within the MPA and 2) hosting a community marine litter prevention workshop and multi-site coastal cleanup event, to increase educational capacity by sharing data collected on marine litter in phase 1, training for prevention and reduction of marine litter, and increasing community volunteerism in marine litter prevention in areas surrounding the MPA

Waste, People and Reef Health (BICA, Honduras)

Currently, BICA implements a Citizen Science program, brand audits, which consists of collecting data on solid waste through specialized reef, beach, creek, mangrove, and community cleanups. This data has supported the approval of a single-use plastic ban for plastic bags, straws, bottles and foam in the municipality of Roatan.Through this project BICA plans to use aerial drones as a non-intrusive method to monitor, identify and track marine litter and understand its origins in the Bay Islands National Marine Park. Drones will allow for the capture of the total view of remote areas which are difficult to access and would normally be visited once per season.Drone data will be correlated with the data collected by citizen science activities to create maps and other products from this data will be shared with stakeholders to improve waste management on the island of Roatan, promote a waste separation municipal ordinance, waste separation pilot projects in the nearest communities to the waste hotspots will be implemented,raining to increase awareness, collection, and separation of waste.

Marine Protected Areas Grants

Financial sustainability through an Eco Friendly Store promoting behavior change in single use plastics (BICA, Honduras)

One of the main problems that affect the conservation of marine areas is pollution in its different forms; which is a result of the lack of basic sanitation infrastructure in coastal communities. Existing dumps have many structural defects and are located near the sea, creeks and mangroves without proper containment. This problem is not unique to the Bay Islands, we see it throughout the region. Furthermore, marine protected areas lack sustainable financing. In an effort to decrease single use plastic making its way to dumps in the Caribbean and improve sustainable financing in the Sandy Bay-West End Special Marine Protection Zone (SBWE-SMPZ) BICA will implement an Eco Friendly Store at the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center. The activities will include but not limited to sourcing providers in country and regionally to provide locally made reusable products that contribute to a change in behavior by the consumers; designing a marketing campaign to increase sales; renting a location in the market at the cruise center and higher a manager for the Eco Friendly Store.

Evaluating sites to confirm SCTLD presence and for treatment and monitoring prioritization activities within the Cayos Cochinos Archipelago Natural Marine Monument (Honduras Coral Reef Fund, Honduras)

Due to the multiple new confirmed SCTLD-infected sites in various areas within the MPA, the need to increase efforts to prevent the further spread of the disease has arisen. The CCANMM conservation team will proceed to evaluate all sites where the disease has been reported and sites with high percentage of coral cover and diversity will be established as priority treatment and monitoring sites. Treatment will be applied at these sites and most, if not all, colonies will be tagged and mapped for follow-up activities. Patrolling and ranger operations will be enhanced, as well as environmental education and awareness activities for the local community and awareness activities for the local community and tour operators. The main objectives are to increase our treatment application and monitoring efforts; strengthen data collection, analysis, and report capacities; promote local actor awareness about SCTLD; and increase patrolling operations within the MPA, as well as ranger abilities and capacities

Increasing the management capacities of the Cayos de San Felipe National Park with an emphasis on threatened and critically endangered species (Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Cuba)

The PNCS which was declared a National Park and SPAW Site, works in the conservation of threatened species. The reinforcement of protection and surveillance activities and community environmental education have been one of the main strategies developed for the conservation of these species. Species such as turtles and manatees are under pressure from illegal hunting and fishing and bycatch. The PNCSF is among the three main nesting areas for sea turtles in Cuba, which has been affected by various factors, decimating its effective reproductive population. Lack of knowledge about the status of Manatee populations is a potential risk for the species. Carrying out effective surveillance tours, systematic monitoring for a better understanding of the abundance and distribution of manatees in the park, community involvement in conservation work, workshops and community festivals aimed at raising awareness about these threatened species, are undoubtedly key actions to reduce the pressure on them and increase knowledge of their populations at the level of the area and the country.