The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation and Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) are joining forces  to support the ‘A Bit at a Time’ initiative of Mason Chadwick in cleaning up parts of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. The collaborated nature initiative will organize three Lagoon clean-up events in the coming weeks and volunteers are asked to participate.

The Simpson Bay Lagoon is an important natural ecosystem and home to many aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. It is an important key habitat, sustaining life that reaches much further than the lagoon itself. Wetlands such as the lagoon act as a spawning and nursery area for many essential fish species, therefore the area is of great significance for our commercial and recreational Fisheries. The Simpson Bay Lagoon also has a very high commercial value for the marinas and tourism, as well as a high recreational and aesthetic value giving St Maarten its characteristic beauty. The passing of hurricane Irma caused an extensive and devastating impact on the Lagoon. An assessment of the environmental damage in the lagoon was published in September last year by the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, wherein the impacts on our Marine and Wetland Ecosystem were considered an environmental disaster.

Some measures to improve the most pressing problems of the lagoons were taken by salvaging crews and the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, however there is still a tremendous amount to clean-up and restore. One of these tasks is the cleaning up of hurricane debris along the lagoon and in the water, and also the cleaning up of large amounts of plastic that constantly ends up in the lagoon due to littering. Mason Chadwick and fellow helpers wanted to do something about the trash and debris in the lagoon and they already started cleaning the lagoon in a constant basis. We welcomed this Nobel initiative and want to support his and many other initiatives to make a cleaner and more beautiful St Maarten.

The first clean-up event will take place next to the airport road at Simpson Bay on Sunday the 14th of January. We will meet in front of the Dinghy Dock Bar in Simpson Bay at 8am and will be cleaning up until 11am. Garbage bags, water and small snacks will be provided by the Foundations. Please bring a hat, strong shoes, working gloves and a reusable drinking bottle for your water refill. We would like to decrease the plastic input and therefore ask everyone to use reusable bottles! The Foundations are hoping for a large attendance to make a difference for the lagoon.

Picture 1: Mason Chadwick and crew cleaning the Simpson Bay Lagoon (EPIC Photo)

Picture 2: The Simpson Bay Lagoon covered in hurricane debris and trash (EPIC Photo)