Last Sunday the St Maarten Nature Foundation, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) and the ‘A Bit at a Time’ initiative of Mason Chadwick organized a another successful cleanup event. Approximately 70 volunteers came out in order to clean the Simpson Bay Lagoon coastline. This cleanup saw the largest amount of trash ever collected for an event organized by the Foundations with eight fully loaded large trucks leaving with trash and hurricane debris. The island ‘Little Key’ and the lagoon area across from the airport entrance up to Sixt Car Rental are now completely clean of hurricane debris and garbage. The Foundations are urging the community to keep it that way.
A large thanks goes to the VROMI Ministry and Toontje (Claudius) Buncamper and team for the removal of all the trash and the safe traffic coordination. A special thanks goes to the St. Maarten Coast Guard team who due to their tireless effort left the entire coastline clean. Island Water World donated heavy duty gloves, reusable bags and t-shirts.
The organizations are asking the public to stay tuned for the following cleanup event, which will be the important wetland area Mullet Pond on the 24th of February. The community is also urged to responsibly dispose their garbage, trash laying around will end up in our marine and lagoon ecosystem impacting this fragile system and our own health.
Picture 1: Some of the volunteers and the St. Maarten Coast guard during the Lagoon cleanup event.
Picture 2: Volunteers working endless in order to clean up the tremendous amount of trash from the Lagoon coastline.
Picture 3: The VROMI Ministry workers are loading the trash and hurricane debris on large trucks.
Picture 4: Nature Foundation’s patrol boat fully loaded with hurricane debris from the island ‘Little Key’.
After the great success of the first Simpson Bay Lagoon clean-up on the 14th of January, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) and the St Maarten Nature Foundation are announcing the next Simpson Bay Lagoon cleanup event. On Sunday the 4th of February the two Foundations will join forces to support the ‘A Bit at a Time’ initiative of Mason Chadwick in cleaning up parts of the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
“On Sunday we will be cleaning up the shores and lagoon area from Gateway Marina (where Pink Iguana used to be) up to Sixt Car rental across from the airport entrance. As part of the clean-up trash and debris will also be removed from the environmentally important island ‘Little Key’ in the Simpson Bay lagoon. Boats will be used to transport debris to shore. Volunteers are asked to meet at Gateway Marina, which is the marina across from the main entrance of the Airport, at 8 am and the cleanup will end at 12 noon. Reusable garbage bags and water for a refill will be provided by the Foundations,” reads a statement.
Volunteers are asked to bring protection such as a hat, strong shoes, working gloves and sunscreen. Volunteers are also asked to not forget their reusable drinking bottle for water refill. The Foundations would like to decrease the plastic input and therefore are asking that everyone use reusable bottles. The Foundations are hoping for a large attendance to make a difference for the Simpson Bay Lagoon. The Foundations are also requesting the help of the St Maarten Coast Guard, Police, VROMI department, salvage companies and the yachting community in order to remove the larger hurricane debris in a safe matter.
Picture 1: The red marking represents the area to be cleaned up on Sunday the 4th of February (Mason Chadwick Photo).
Picture 2: Large hurricane debris located at the Simpson Bay Lagoon which needs to be cleaned up (Mason Chadwick Photo).
Last Sunday the Simpson Bay Lagoon clean up event organized by the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation and Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) received a massive turn out with more than one hundred volunteers coming together to make a difference for the Simpson Bay Lagoon. The collaborated event was initiated through the ‘A Bit at a Time’ initiative of Mason Chadwick; with volunteers already showing great on-going effort in cleaning up the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
‘We removed wood, fiberglass, zinc, boat parts, garbage, plastics and various other objects from the entire coastline from Dinghy Dock Bar up to the Causeway Bridge. Approximately three tons of hurricane debris, trash and garbage have been removed making a huge difference for the Simpson Bay Lagoon environment, read a joint Nature Foundation and EPIC statement.’
Many local and international organizations joined the event including the St. Maarten Coast Guard, staff from Aquatic Solutions, the St. Maarten Youth Brigade, Gulliver Middle School from Miami, volunteers from EPIC and the Nature Foundation and many more, were all working very hard and made it a great success. A special thanks goes to Island Water World for donation gloves, reusable bags and t-shirts, and 4 Oceans for donating, gloves, pick up sticks, reusable garbage bags and t-shirts. Mr. Toontje Buncamper of the VROMI Ministry and his team also assisted with the removal of the garbage.
The organizations are asking the public to stay tuned for subsequent clean-up events organized by EPIC and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation. The community is also urged to join the continuous clean-up events organized by Mason Chadwick. Information of ‘A Bit at a Time’ clean-ups can be found on Mason Chadwick’s Facebook or requested via his Facebook messenger.
Picture 1: Volunteers in front of collected garbage pile.
Picture 2: One of collected garbage piles of a total of 3 tons of collected debris.
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)