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Boaters, kayakers to join waterway cleanup

Inspired by an editorial in a magazine, dozens of volunteers using a flotilla of kayaks and boats will launch a massive cleanup effort Saturday of the San Juan estuary, comprised of a series of lagoons and lakes near San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The volunteers, comprised of private citizens and government agencies, will spread over areas under the jurisdiction of the municipalities of Loíza, San Juan and Carolina and will be departing from five different areas. 

The cleanup will run from 8 a.m. to noon. An educational activity will be taking place at the facilities of Cangrejo’s Yatch Club from 1-3 p.m.

“This cleanup is a clear example of how citizens and government can work together in pro of the environment,” said Israel Umpierre, president of the movement Mega Limpieza del Estuario de la Bahía de San Juan, and founder of the Facebook group Pesca, Playa y Ambiente. “This event will also bring a unique opportunity for citizens to interact with all the species that inhabit the mangroves. At the end, our objective is to create conscience, among citizens and government, about the importance of protecting this unique resource for present a future generations.”

The event has drawn the support of the media and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, a leader in international efforts to protect our oceans and marine environments. 

This initiative was originated after Doug Olander, editor of Sport Fishing Magazine, recently visited Puerto Rico and published an article in which he recognized the excellent conditions for fishing and the natural beauty of the lagoons that make up the estuary.

In his article, he emphasized how fortunate Puerto Ricans are in having some urban lakes five minutes from the International Airport. He revealed in his editorial the huge amounts of garbage and solid waste observed in the shores of the lagoons and between the roots of the mangroves. Likewise, he encouraged both the government and the citizens to take action in the conservation of this valuable resource.