From March to September every year, Trinidad is host to the majestic leatherback turtles as they travel across the Atlantic Ocean to nest on our east coast beaches. Sea turtles have been around for more than 110 million years and play a significant role in maintaining healthy oceans.
Matura Beach in Trinidad is a popular nesting site and habitat for leatherback turtles and keeping beach shorelines clear of debris that may hamper the female sea turtles’ journey from the ocean to their nesting sites is critical. Debris, especially marine waste, is a predominant factor in their entanglement and death along this journey.
The annual Matura Beach Clean-Up, spearheaded by the award-winning environment conservation group, Nature Seekers, took place from Sunday 6th to Saturday 12th March 2022. It involved the collection and removal of glass, plastic, metal, and degradable materials from the shoreline, to facilitate successful turtle nesting.
Employees from Tourism Trinidad Limited (TTL) partnered joined Nature Seekers to help clean-up the beach on Friday 11th March 2022. Over 340 bags were collected (6,986 lbs), with 83% of the waste being plastic and the rest old flips flops, Styrofoam objects, fishing nets and ropes and other macro-plastics.
Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Trinidad Limited, Kurtis Rudd, explained this year’s clean-up was more than just the collection of trash.
“I am really impressed by the tremendous turnout and participation by our staff for this Matura Beach Clean Up. More than 25 employees came out and covered specific zones of the seven-mile-long Matura beach; picking up debris such as broken glass, logs, plastic bottles, and general waste that can injure beachgoers and have a huge detrimental effect on local marine life and ecosystems,” Kurtis Rudd stated. “Activities such as this not only assists in conservation of the natural environment but ensures the authentic connection of tourism officials to the industry.”
The TTL CEO said the time has come to “look at the way we live and reduce our consumption of single-use plastic”.
“It is critical that we clean up our shorelines, protect marine life and support our community coastal tourism economies,” he said.
He added: “Nature Seekers must be applauded for their long-standing work in environment conservation and dedication to the protection of the nesting sites of the leatherback turtles.”