The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded nearly $50,000 to two Puerto Rico organizations, Leaders of the World and the Scuba Dogs Society, to educate low-income communities about effective waste management, recycling and the negative effects of improper waste disposal on people’s health and water quality.
The grant was awarded under the EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, which supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues.
“EPA environmental justice grants provide much needed funds to tackle local pollution problems in low income communities,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Puerto Rico is facing a solid waste crisis. These grants will encourage community members to become active participants in efforts to reduce waste through waste reduction, recycling and composting.”
Using a $25,000 EPA environmental justice grant, Leaders for the World Inc. will educate young adults in San Juan’s Cantera Peninsula about the harmful effects that improper waste disposal has on the ecosystem of Cantera’s lagoon system and the local community. Leaders of the World will work with the community to monitor water quality, conserve and restore local wetlands and other areas of the ecosystem and prevent water pollution.
The Scuba Dogs Society, Inc. will use a $24,286 EPA environmental justice grant to educate residents of Loiza about the serious impacts of illegal dumping on nearby water bodies and the deficiencies of local waste management services.
Through a hands-on educational program, workshops and direct assistance, the Scuba Dogs Society will work with Loiza residents, many of whom are subsistence fishers, to properly manage waste and to recycle. The program will also educate residents about the effect marine debris has on local waterways.
Since 1994, the EPA’s environmental justice small grants program has supported projects to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,300 communities. The grants represent EPA’s continued commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.