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Cleaning Up Our Coast: International Coastal Cleanup Day

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPRM chapter.

On Saturday, September 16th, UPRM student organizations such as Sociedad Honoraria de Biología BBB (TriBeta) and T-MED, got together in Sector El Maní for their yearly coastal cleanup as a part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day.

Around 8:00 a.m. these organizations set up their tables with refreshments, napkins, plastic bags, water, and sound boxes awaiting for an arduous day of work along the Mayagüez coast. Gloves and plastic bags were provided to those participating in the activity. Students arrived and filled up the place ready to work in an effort to clean up the beach, which is known for its heavy contamination.

Before the clock hit 9:00, we were gathered at our starting point, where a brief orientation was offered before setting out to the coast. The most important warning was to avoid any contact with the contaminated water or any biological material without proper protection. We were told to set our alarms to meet back at our starting point at 11:30a.m. When the orientation wrapped up, we finally headed into the woods, through a narrow path that led us to the beach.

We were divided in groups of three to four people and we had to work together and have someone writing down in a sheet of paper what we found. It was extremely important to not stray away from your peers so you didn’t get lost. As soon as we got to the coast, we started walking along the shore under the hot, sizzling sun picking up every piece of trash we encountered.

Everything ranging from old car-seats, to used condoms, needles, empty blood bags, and plastic dolls were found on this solitary beach. Also, the trash that is washed ashore piles up along the coast. We tried our best to clean up as much as we could without putting ourselves at risk.

Around 10:30a.m., earlier than anticipated, most people started heading back to our starting point with bags filled with everything they had found, to eat snacks, have water, wash their hands, and discuss their findings. When we were finished, we headed back to our daily-life activities. It was a very rewarding experience to participate and witness the team effort to do something beneficial toward our community. It is important to keep our coasts clean not only on International Coastal Cleanup Day, but every day of the year!  

Jennifer Mojica Santana is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (UPRM). She is currently pursuing a degree in English with a concentration in Literature, and minor studies in Project Management and Writing and Communications. Mojica Santana has written for UPRM's chapter of the online magazine Her Campus since March 2015. She served as the chapter's Senior Editor from January 2016 through May 2016. From June 2016 through October 2017, Mojica Santana was the chapter's co-Campus Correspondent and co-Editor-in-Chief. During the summer of 2917, she conducted research at Brown University. Currently, she is a visiting student at Brown University.