With corporate T&T’s support, two south Rotaract Clubs removed 130 bags of garbage from the Cipero wetlands in the first phase of their Mangrove Restoration Project over the weekend.
Over 30 volunteers attended the two-hour clean-up on Sunday, including students from the Interact Club of San Fernando Central Secondary School.
“I am really pleased with the turnout and all that we achieved in this brief time. For me, this collaboration between our two clubs, interactors and different companies has been an enormous success,” Rotaract Club of San Fernando-South president Celina Baldeo said.
Rotaract San Fernando president Jerdiah Boodoo said while he was proud of the fellowship, it was a heart-breaking experience to see how human actions affected nature. He urged all to be mindful of where their waste goes and not litter.
The cleanup focused on the area nestled behind Soogrim Trace, Gulf View, where 15 hectares of estuarine mangrove adorn the intersection of the Cipero River and Caribbean Sea.
The area also provides aesthetic beauty to the neighbourhood and environmental services to the country, such as flood prevention, carbon sequestration and wildlife habitation.
However, there has been a decline in the mangrove’s quality and coverage over the years, prompting the Rotaract Clubs of San Fernando and San Fernando-South to act.
REPSOL sponsored this initial phase. The garbage, including litter, old tyres and discarded appliances, was moved at no cost by Central Equipment Rentals Limited (CERL). Advisors Next Door provided technical and promotional support to the Clubs.
In a media release, Assistant District Rotaract Representative Crystal Mohammed explained, “In 2020, Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors added ‘supporting the environment’ as the seventh area of focus for all clubs, recognising its importance in creating a just, sustainable and healthy future for all. Although the Cipero wetlands are among the smallest in the country, it is the closest to home for these two clubs. We must act locally while thinking globally. We hope to increase mangrove numbers in the area as part of Rotaract’s fight against climate change. Cleaning up is just the first step.”
The project includes routine mangrove cleaning, soil and water quality assessments to determine the cause of mangrove losses and seedling transplanting.