Marine Debris Challenge 2016
Raising awareness about the impacts of marine debris and taking action to prevent debris reaching our oceans.
The Seychelles is dependent on the sea both as a source of income and food. Our once pristine white beaches are being littered with plastic bags and bottles, polystyrene boxes, bottle caps and all sorts of other waste which are extremely harmful to marine and bird life.
With the opinion that foregoing plastic bags was a more sensible sacrifice than our oceans, in June 2015, SYAH-Seychelles launched a “Seychelles Free From Plastic Bags” campaign to lobby for a complete ban of plastic bags in Seychelles.
As a means to raise funds to sustain the campaign, a number of sponsored beach clean ups were organised in 2015. SYAH-Seychelles took part in the Marine Debris Challenge 2016 to do it on a bigger, better scale!
To raise awareness about the impacts of marine debris and to take action to prevent debris reaching our oceans.
WHAT WE DID
Between 22nd February to 22nd April 2016 (Earth Day), SYAH-Seychelles took up the Marine Debris Challenge 2016 hosted by the Positive Change For Marine Life association based in Australia. The Marine Debris Challenge challenges communities across the world to host fortnightly clean ups over a period of two months to raise awareness about the impacts of marine debris and how communities can collectively mitigate these impacts and to take action to prevent debris reaching our oceans.
Led by Project Managers Zara Pardiwalla and Karine Rassool, SYAH-Seychelles, dubbed ‘Team Seychelles’ in the Challenge, doubled its efforts and hosted weekly clean ups across the Seychelles islands. The two-month exercise covered beaches in:
The funds necessary to cover the costs of the survey materials, clean up equipment, educational material and the screening of the documentary “Bag It”, were donated by the British High Commission in Seychelles.
The fifth clean up as part of the Marine Debris Challenge was also a mass clean up and took place on Thursday 14th April on Beau Vallon beach, one of the most frequented beaches on Mahe. The event which was held in collaboration with Hunt, Deltel & Co. Ltd. was opened by the Minister for Environment, Energy & Climate Change, Mr Didier Dogley and the Managing Director of Hunt Deltel, Mr Christophe Houareau, whose words echoed the message being put across by SYAH-Seychelles, encouraging local communities to have an active approach towards nurturing healthy waste disposal habits.
Organised and funded jointly by SYAH-Seychelles and Hunt Deltel, this was a mass clean up, with both SYAH members and Hunt Deltel lobbying a SYAH-record, of 246 participants for the event from a number of organisations, hotels and private and public socials. The clean up provided all participants with transport facilities, safety gear, cleaning equipment, snacks and refreshments upon completion of the clean ups as well as Certificates of Participation. The H Hotel and Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove contributed fresh fruit, iced tea, water and juice, SAVOY Hotel provided electricity and a local vendor was commissioned by the organisers to provide freshly made banana chips.
Souvenirs of the activity can still be seen on-site at Beau Vallon where hand-painted signs have been installed displaying anti-littering messages, an initiative run by Sustainability for Seychelles who organized a painting station during the event. The success of the event was confirmed by the three-ton truck load of waste ranging from bottles to plastic bags, scrap metal and tyres to name but a few specimens collected. Participants were also awarded prizes for their efforts.
Launched in February 2016