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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Patterson-Maura

Marine Debris Project Report: GTC

FRIENDS has been proud to partner with IDEA Relief on our Green Turtle Cay Marine Debris Removal Project funded by UNDP GEF SGP. IDEA has helped turn an unfortunate circumstance into an economic boost for the community and an opportunity to build pride through relief while facilitating training to prepare for future storm events.

Key components of this project have included a cash for work program, student internships, and volunteer participation, all leading to the removal of small, medium, and large debris left behind by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Debris items ranging from shingles, to appliances, to boats have been impacting coastal areas of Green Turtle Cay (and throughout Abaco)

for a year and a half. This project removed them, with the goal of preventing any further impact. Of special concern during removal was the presence of wildlife, impacts to surrounding habitats, and the need to ensure pollutants were properly contained, all while assuring safety of the crew. All debris collected were taken to a sorting location on Green Turtle Cay and processed before being shipped to the debris management site on the mainland. Fifteen 30 cubic yard bins worth of debris were collected!

Importantly, this project provided employment opportunities to community members who were experiencing a lack of employment due to Dorian and COVID. Debris removal staff and interns subsequently received training and experience that can contribute to future debris removal programs, ultimately improving how our communities respond to storm events. These staff can also become part of ongoing cleanups in Abaco as funding allows. A total of nine community members were hired as debris removal staff, as well as two interns, and the project benefitted from 49 days of volunteer effort.

There are still a lot of coastal areas throughout Abaco to clean up, and our communities are motivated! If you would like to aid progress through direct support or volunteer effort please reach out or fill out our volunteer application form.

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