Santander Puerto Rico and Scuba Dogs Society partnered over the weekend to clean up Playa Soleil in Loíza, where volunteers picked up 985 cigarette butts, 820 glass bottles and 634 straws.
The event that took place on “Earth Day” in benefit of the island’s coastal environment.
“On Earth Day, we responded to the call to protect and conserve our natural resources, in this case the coasts, with a team of volunteer employees, who in turn have become ambassadors of the message of awareness and have integrated their families and friends in the task,” said Alejandro Guzmán, chief financial officer of Santander Puerto Rico, who headed the efforts along with his division team.
During the Playa Soleil beach cleanup, garbage was picked up and information was collected on the characteristics of the residues found in the area, which serves as home to the largest sea turtle, the “tinglar.”
The amount of garbage collected totaled 1,237 pounds. The predominant wastes were cigarette butts, glass and plastic. According to the report, every cigarette butt that comes into contact with the marine ecosystem can contaminate up to 50 liters of water.
In total, about 200 volunteers participated, among employees of Santander Puerto Rico and collaborators of Scuba Dogs Society, who were notified at the end of the event of the results of their work.
Guzmán said the coastal cleaning activity in Loíza came about through the “Santander Solidario” program, a volunteer effort of the financial institution’s employees in which a team leads a community impact initiative on a monthly basis.
“The Playa Soleil beach cleanup joins the results of the federal NOAA Marine Debris Removal project, which supports community-based debris removal efforts,” said Silmarie Sánchez, executive director of Scuba Dogs Society.
“The community of Loíza was integrated into the project when we started in August 2015, and since then we have benefitted the municipality’s costs, while educating residents and visitors about the importance of conserving and protecting the coastal natural resources of the island,” she said.