On June 5th every year, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations and thousands of global communities and organizations celebrate World Environment Day.
This year, the theme of the Day is “Beat plastic pollution” – a call for action for the world to work together to address one of the great environmental challenges of our time and raise global awareness of the need to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on people’s health and the threat it poses to the environment and wildlife.
Through on-going projects, BEST and Darwin, the Turks & Caicos National Trust (TCNT) sponsored a trip to Half Moon Bay and Little Water Cay to celebrate World Environment Day.
A group of students from Long Bay High School, along with some teachers, participated. These students had initially been surveyed by TCNT’s Public Awareness Officer in February to gauge their knowledge of the dangers facing our Rock Iguanas. These students will be surveyed again at the end of the project in 2020, to complete the education component of the project.
The excursion gave students the opportunity to learn about iguanas’ habitat first-hand and taught them the importance of keeping it clean.
Students were urged to be more responsible in managing garbage since waste, particularly plastic, can be devastating to marine biodiversity.
More importantly, the tour exposed students to the detriment to the health and well-being of the iguanas caused by plastic products and trash being left behind by humans who visit their homes. In fact, the group was able to collect a few plastic products within the vicinity.
During this trip, students also learned how to do bead tagging – a strategy used by scientists, to keep track of the population, study their life span and monitor their health. The on-going rat eradication project on the Cay was also discussed.
Half Moon Bay is a vulnerable domicile for the Rock Iguanas as it is a popular location for locals to have beach cook-out and tour companies to take guests to relax, have beach parties and see iguanas.
The Turks & Caicos National Trust continues to seek more support towards conservation plans though funding and donations, and appeals to tour operators and stakeholders to be partners in the stewardship of this area.
To help save our iguanas, their habitat and combat plastic pollution, support the Turks & Caicos National Trust. Call (649) 941-5710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.