San Juan, Sep 22 (IANS/EFE) Thousands of volunteers cleaned 200 beaches, rivers and lakes in Puerto Rico to celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday.
Alberto Marti, executive director of the Scuba Dogs Society, said the goal this year was to collect more than 250,000 pounds (113,500 kg) of solid waste scattered around Puerto Rico.
Pablo Mendez Lazaro, professor of the Environmental Health Department at the University of Puerto Rico, said they would gather data about solid waste in estuaries, coastal areas, rivers and other bodies of water and see “how badly we are managing them”.
“We don’t intend to pick up anybody’s trash so they can just go on littering. What we want is to create a database from what we observe that will help us understand how we are managing solid waste on the island,” he said.
The Scuba Dogs Society, founded in 1993, said the effort would help beautify some of the more privileged places on the island, which will make Puerto Rico more of a tourist attraction and will in turn benefit the whole community.
During last year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day, around 600,000 volunteers from 100 countries took part in cleaning coastal areas around the world. They collected nine million pounds of garbage (more than 4,000 tonnes). Six out of every 10 pieces of trash were plastic.