Walmart joins Coastal Conservation of Puerto Rico to protect island’s coasts
The increasing number of hurricanes that develop and large-scale flooding due to climate change is destroying dunes and mangroves, which are the natural protective barriers of Puerto Rico’s coasts and surrounding communities, leaving 62% of the island’s population residing in coastal municipalities vulnerable to flooding from storm surges and overflowing bodies of water.
Recognizing the urgency and need of taking action to mitigate potential adverse effects on Puerto Rico’s coastal areas and to protect the safety of the communities that reside there, Walmart and P&G have joined forces for the second consecutive year with Coastal Conservation of Puerto Rico (CoCo Puerto Rico) in an effort named “Together Conserving What’s Ours.”
The initiative, which was also supported by Coca-Cola this year, began in 2022 with the mission of helping reforest and conserve the mangrove ecosystem along Puerto Rico’s coasts.
As part of the effort, 2,000 mangrove seeds were collected for germination, 800 mangroves were planted with the help of 300 people from coastal communities and educational programs were carried out, resulting in the creation of two nurseries in Culebra and Santa Isabel.
This year, the initiative aims to support the reforestation and conservation of mangroves along the coasts of Luquillo, Mayagüez, Arecibo and Santa Isabel through seed collection, reforestation and other conservation activities.
According to the study “The State of Puerto Rico’s Beaches after Maria,” conducted by the Coastal Research and Planning Institute of Puerto Rico (CoRePI-PR, in Spanish) at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and led by Dr. Maritza Barreto Orta, the municipalities with the most significant coastline migration are Vieques, Cabo Rojo, Arecibo, Humacao, Isabela, Vega Baja, Fajardo, Luquillo, Loíza and Hatillo.
Through the “Together Conserving What’s Ours” campaign, thousands of people will have the opportunity to help preserve the island’s coasts. With the purchase of participating P&G products such as Ace, Pantene, Safeguard and Bounty, and Coca-Cola’s Powerade and Smart Water, among others, at Walmart stores in Puerto Rico, a donation ranging from 25 cents to $45,000 will be made to CoCo Puerto Rico. The initiative begins on June 1 and ends on July 31.
“At CoCo Puerto Rico, we are committed to educating our coastal communities about the importance of conserving our environment, which is why we work with them on efforts to restore and conserve valuable coastal ecosystems like mangroves,” said Verónica Nieves, project coordinator at Coastal Conservation of Puerto Rico. “For us, it is important to establish collaborations that support our mission, such as the one we have established with Walmart and P&G, now joined by Coca-Cola. The donation raised this year through the ‘Together Conserving What’s Ours’ effort will allow us to help other coasts, such as those in Luquillo, Mayagüez, Arecibo and Santa Isabel, whose mangrove systems have been strongly affected by the severity of weather phenomena such as hurricanes and tropical storms, wreaking havoc on the communities adjacent to those wetlands.”
Walmart Puerto Rico’s senior manager of corporate affairs, Viviana Mercado, said her company is a leader “in promoting environmentally sound business practices and supporting recycling and energy conservation,” among other social responsibility efforts.
“Walmart Puerto Rico has demonstrated over the years its commitment to protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources. We are very proud to once again support the work of Coastal Conservation of Puerto Rico alongside our suppliers and customers. It is our duty to support entities like CoCoPR in raising awareness about the importance of caring for and conserving our coasts and to help reforest Puerto Rico’s mangrove ecosystem.”