4,994 pounds of trash that littered the Rock Island Southern Lagoon was collected during the coastal clean-up on Friday September 4th.
This trip was to mitigate an ongoing problem of trash being found in the Rock Islands either through littering or floating from other countries to Palau. It also encourages best use when going to the Rock Islands not only amongst themselves but to the community as well such as not using plastic bottles and instead substituting it with either a hydro flask or igloo filled with water.
The Koror State Government Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement was tasked by the Governor to do a Rock Island Southern Lagoon Coastal Cleanup. Many agencies were involved with making this clean up a successful one.
Being a key partner to Koror State Government Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement, several tourism based industries such as Daydream, Palau Dive Adventure, Sea Passion, Sam’s Tours, Palau Siren, PIT, and a woman by the name of Harline Stark donated a total of 6 boats for the trip. This trip was also largely funded by gef6.
Aside from all the Koror State Departments, other agencies that participated in the coastal clean-up some of which includethe 11th Koror State Legislature, Maiberel, House of Traditional Leaders, Ngirametal, and over a 100 participants.
Those that took part in the cleanup were split into 7 teams. The teams collected trash in several areas of the lagoon such as the beaches, small caves, inlets, bays, and other areas that can be accessed by boat.
According to the Director of Conservation and Law Enforcement Jennifer Olegeriil, they collected a variety of trash ranging from plastic bottles, ropes from vessels, sandals, and even a refrigerator. Out of the 4994 pounds of trash that was collected only 656 pounds of the trash were redeemable.
The Koror State Rock Island Southern Lagoon is recognized by UNESCO as a mixed site meaning it’s a natural and a cultural site making it 1 of the 39 UNESCO mixed sites. The Rock Island Southern Lagoon houses many animals and plants.
It is also the largest nesting ground for the Hawksbill Turtle in the Micronesian Region. It is also a feeding and nesting ground for other animals such as dolphins, whales, and dugongs. In a cultural perspective, many have migrated from the Rock Islands to Babeldaob. Many of the sites still hold the name of the village and chiefly titles.
“We work every day to ensure that we maintain the Rock Island Southern Lagoon as a World Heritage Site so that includes collaboration with the community, partnerships with the key agencies such as the tourism industry, governance with the legislature, the House of Traditional Leaders.” Stated Director Olegeriil.
She went on to say that “those are some of the many criterias that we need to comply with in order to maintain our status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.”