On the first 4 days of the clean-up, more than 2 tons of marine debris has been collected from the beaches of Alphonse, Astove, Coetivy, Desroches, Farquhar, Platte, Poivre and Remire.
Some 40 volunteers comprising of IDC staff, NGO The Ocean Project Seychelles, Health professionals as well as some other individuals are picking up, sorting and weighing the debris collected from the sea shore.
This clean up operation is also part of a survey by the NGO to learn more about the impact of marine pollution in Seychelles. The Ocean Project which was established in November 2016 in response to the global issue of marine plastic pollution affecting the Seychelles with a mission to tackle the problem through education, action and research.
This is the first such exercise for the outer islands. The Chairperson of the IDC Board of Directors, Mr. Patrick Berlouis, who is leading the team of volunteers on Coetivy describes as saddening that people in some parts of the world are using the ocean to dispose of their rubbish. He notes that this exercise is just a small step which will hopefully go a long way in educating people about the ocean and the need to protect it.
The trend is similar on all the islands. Flip flops, pet and glass bottles, cigarette lighters, tube light and styrofoams boxes are topping the list of debris collected.
Large number of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), ropes, buoys and nets from fishing vessels are also making it to the shores.
The first-ever large-scale clean-up of the outer islands managed by the IDC will take place from March 18th to 31st. As part of the exercise, forty volunteers will clean eight islands, namely Astove, Alphonse, Farquhar, Desroches, Poivre, Remire, Coetivy, and Platte. IDC met with the volunteers before they left, to brief them on the different aspects of the clean-up activity.
All logistics for the clean-up have been taken care of by IDC. “We are sure that volunteers are going to have fun, enjoy this unique opportunity to visit the islands, and do something good for the environment,” said the CEO, Mr. Glenny Savy.
Mr. Savy informed the volunteers that IDC undertakes monthly clean-ups on most of the outer islands but saw it necessary to team up with local partners to collect marine debris on a large scale similarly to the Aldabra cleanup project.
The aim of the clean-up on the IDC-managed outer islands is to remove and dispose of marine litter that has accumulated along the coastlines of those islands.
IDC is collaborating with The Ocean Project Seychelles, a local non-profit organisation created to raise awareness on the dangers of plastic waste. The Ocean Project Seychelles will lead the marine litter assessments on the islands to establish where the plastic pollution hotspots are, how much is arriving annually and how this varies between the inner islands and outer islands.
Once collected, sorted, and weighed, all waste collected will be taken to the base camp of each outer island and shipped back to Mahe.