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OCEANA volunteers countrywide aid with International Waterway Cleanup 2012

Press Release Date: October 4, 2012

Location: Belize City, Belize


This past Saturday, 29 September 2012, OCEANA volunteers across the country, mobilized to assist with this year’s International Waterway and Coastline Clean-up, a global initiative carried out by Ocean Conservancy. The Scouts Association of Belize, spearheads the initiative locally and brings together NGO’s, schools, interested businesses and the everyday citizen to remove, from Belize’s waterways and coastline, thousands of pounds of garbage.

Going beyond just a garbage cleanup, participants recorded on Ocean Conservancy data cards, both the quantity and type of trash being collected. The resulting information helps participating countries and Ocean Conservancy to better assess and implement policies to tackle our ocean garbage problem both regionally and globally. Equally, it aids in assessing the impact and growth of the initiative.


In 2011, close to 600,000 volunteers removed over 9 million pounds of garbage from coastlines and waterways globally.


“Oceana is proud to take part in this annual event,” states Oceana’s Vice President for Belize Audrey Matura Shepherd. “In addition to our volunteers mobilizing countrywide, Oceana used biodegradable trash bags and, in an effort to further reduce the use of plastic, did away with plastic water bottles and water pouches (ideals) and instead served beverages to volunteers in biodegradable cups.”

“The majority of the garbage found along our waterways and coastline were styrofoam containers (material) and plastic (bottles, bags, caps etc.)” noted Hipolito Bautista, Oceana’s Communication and Marketing Officer and Oceana’s coordinator for this year’s clean up. “Every person can help with this clean-up, year round, because the best way to tackle garbage is not to create it.”


Oceana encourages the public to reduce, reuse and recycle:


  • Encourage food vendors you buy from to use biodegradable food containers, cups and utensils instead of Styrofoam.
  • When buying food, ask the vendor to place your food in a reusable container which you provide.
  • Encourage your local store or shopping center to use biodegradable shopping bags.
  • Ask your local store or shopping center to ensure biodegradable food containers, plates, cups and utensils are always available for purchase.
  • Take your own reusable bag to the store to have your groceries packed in.
  • When buying only a few items don’t use plastic bags, instead simply carry in hand.
  • Be the force of change – develop and organize a recycling program at your workplace or school – especially to collect plastic bottles and items and Styrofoam material.


For more photos on this year’s Cleanup countrywide visit www.facebook.com/oceanainbelize