The Abundant Life Foundation is dedicated to the preservation of one of Roatán’s greatest assets – the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef. We created the Top 10 List of Ways to Preserve the Reef, to increase awareness of simple steps we all can take to preserve the reef and protect marine life. #7 is “Dispose of Trash Properly.” If everyone observed this practice our oceans would be much cleaner, and marine life would not be in jeopardy.
Easter week in Roatán is one of the biggest holidays in Honduras. Thousands come to Roatán, and with them comes more trash. This year, we held our 3rd Annual Reef Cleanup event on April 7th. This year, with 63 volunteers, we removed over 400 pounds of trash in two hours on West Bay Beach alone.
Although the amount of trash removed is disturbing, an encouraging observation made when looking at the trash I collected personally, and browsing through the pile accumulated at the end, was in how the trash differed this year. I didn’t see as many plastic forks, knives, plates or to-go boxes as I had seen in the past two years. The world is becoming educated in the effects of plastics in our environment, and establishments along West Bay Beach are beginning to change their practices. We are proud to say our partner and co-sponsor of this event , the Grand Roatán Caribbean Resort, is leading the way in these changes. The Grand Roatán no longer offers plastic straws and Styrofoam to-go boxes to their guests, replacing them with paper straws and biodegradable boxes. The Grand Roatán is leading other Roatán resorts with a program to eliminate the practice of providing bottled water in hotel rooms. Instead, they will provide aluminum, reusable bottles with water re-fill stations in each room. The Grand Roatán also proudly displays our Top 10 List in their reception to educate guests upon check-in. The cumulative effect of these efforts makes a huge and immediate impact in Roatán, and sets an example for others.
We would like to thank the following organizations for their participation in this year’s event: The Grand Roatán Caribbean Resort and their hotel guests who participated; the Roatán Marine Park; Warfighters SCUBA; Island Diving Center; International Airports of Honduras; Roatán Bomberos; and the Roatán Wolves Bikers.
Our hope is that someday this event will no longer be needed, but in the meantime, won’t you join us in our efforts to protect and preserve the reef? Download our Top 10 List here for yourself and share it with others, or, donate here to support our Conservation Pillar efforts. Together we can make a difference in building vibrant futures in Roatán.
To learn more about 2018’s Annual Reef Cleanup Event read the Diario Roatán article here.