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Taking the Plunge for a cleaner St Maarten.

coastalcleanup03082022PHILIPSBURG:--- This past weekend was fun-filled for the second Kidz at Sea SXM Coastal 2022 CleanUp group. Along with some theory work, they took the plunge and spent most of the weekend underwater.

On Saturday 30 July their underwater time was spent in the pool at The Scuba Shop where they got their first experience with Scuba diving. They then continued on to go out on the Dive Adventures boat for their first two ocean dives on Sunday.

One of the participants in the program says that for him ‘‘scuba diving for the first time was an exhilarating experience. I was able to be amongst the beauty underneath the ocean, in contrast to seeing it on tv. A new appreciation for the marine environment and aquatic life has formed!”.

One of the goals of this program is to enhance the relationship of our young Sint Maarteners with their natural environment by educating them on what good daily practices can help preserve our future natural habitat. Apart from building a team to clean (future and existing) hurricane debris and other invasive objects to marine life, there are other parts of this training in which we try to highlight ways to keep a better balance between our coastlines and the ongoing struggle with plastic and other pollution.

Small changes include saying no to food packed in unnecessary plastic, using a reusable water bottle, and bringing reusable bags to the store, but also being mindful of saying no to anything else that can only be used once.

This weekend, the group will finish their training with the last two dives at the Marine Park, after which they will take their exam to be certified as Open Water divers.

The Kidz at Sea SXM Coastal CleanUp will then have trained a group of 12 students this year as part of the CleanUp team. There will be a few more trainings they will take part in to develop further their underwater cleanup skills which will be happening in the coming weeks.

Having been funded by the Government of the Netherlands under the Sint Maarten Trustfund, implemented by Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), administered by VNGI, and overseen by The World Bank, this project continues to motivate young adults of our island to rebuild a strong and cleaner St Maarten.

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