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Beach litter is on an upward trend – we can all make a difference!

Press Release STCB

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) is concerned about the rise in trash on Bonaire’s beaches. As part of the volunteer Beachkeeper program, STCB has been collecting data on the amount and type of trash found on Bonaire’s sea turtle nesting beaches for several years and the organization has found an upward trend.

Rubbish collected by STCB’s Beachkeepers on Bonaire’s sea turtle nesting beaches (i.e. Te Amo & Donkey Beach, pocket beaches in the south and Klein Bonaire) include cans, glass and plastic bottles, bottle caps, diapers, cigarette butts, straws, fishing line, balloons, raw chicken leg bones, many pallets and more. In addition to the trash, STCB’s volunteers also regularly find tire tracks, fire pits and dog tracks on the beaches, and man-made structures (e.g. stone structures, pallet chairs/tables) that form obstacles for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.

STCB is seeking support from the government and the community to protect Bonaire’s beaches. STCB’s Manager Mabel Nava: “Beaches are not very extensive on Bonaire and we need to take good care of them so that we can all continue to enjoy them safely. If we keep our beaches clean, Bonaire’s community as well as sea turtles can use the beach without putting themselves at risk. Risks for people may include cuts, burns (fire pits, charcoal), transmission of bacteria as a result of dogs urinating and defecating on the sand, and for sea turtles the killing of eggs due to crushing (cars), cooking (fire pits) and digging (dogs).”

Please keep the following rules in mind when visiting the beach: dispose of trash properly (you can use the garbage facilities at the beaches or take your trash home), park your vehicle on the side of the road or in a place that has no sand or vegetation, do not light fires on the beaches and find out where you can and cannot walk your dog. “If we all adhere to these simple rules, Bonaire’s community, nesting sea turtles and sea turtle hatchlings can continue to use the beach safely”, says Mabel Nava.

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