Limpia La Playa!

After school beach cleanup with the students

~ By Gloria

Isla Mujeres is a stunning place to live, but some of the beaches, mangroves, and forested areas are littered with garbage. I have witnessed people throwing garbage into the ocean while spending time at the coast. It is great that the main tourist beach (Playa Norte) has many garbage bins, (organic and recycling bins), and artistic signs about recycling, making it easy for visitors to keep this area clean. I was shocked to find that these bins are nowhere to be found elsewhere on the island. This has created a problem for the locals, not having a place to dispose of their waste near the coasts.

For some time now, I have had the idea of creating an after school activity to clean up the beach and to teach my students about the importance of not throwing plastic into the ocean. Plastic and waste continue to have extreme effects on aquatic life and pose a huge threat to endangered species and the environment. Finally, this past Wednesday, I held my first beach clean up day! I created a flyer to invite all of my students to come. We walked together from the school to a nearby beach on the Caribbean coast. I didn’t know how many people would turn up, but I had 9 eager kids ready to help. The children worked together and we were able to collect 9 bags of garbage! I hope through education, these children can learn to respect their environment and improve the littering problem on the island. I am excited to continue this weekly activity, providing an opportunity for the kids to spend time working together as a community, and time to explore nature. In the weeks to come, I plan on adding more activities for the children, like making signs out recycled materials.