One of our sustainability projects at Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador is the coastal cleanup of the islands’ coastlines. Since 1998 we have collected close to 55,000 Kg (120,000 pounds) of solid debris. This project allows us to generate sustainability in the current scenario of the archipelago. For the past five years, an initiative started by Ocean Conservancy took global proportions, and in a short period of time a local effort turned into a world event. Now, every September on its third Saturday, the world gets involved and cleans its coasts. This event is called the International Coastal Cleanup Day, and the Galápagos Islands are part of it too.
Metropolitan Touring supports these initiatives which root from its Environmental Policy, and translate into actions, thanks to the work of Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador, and its sustainability partner Fundación Coca Cola-Ecuador. On its third consecutive year, we join forces in order to give priority to the health of our oceans on this important day. Thus, Friday, September 18th, 2009 is the chosen day for coastal cleaning in the Galápagos, and with close to 300 local volunteers we have been able to collect 4,595 Kgs (10,109 pounds) from three inhabited islands: Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, and Isabela. Some ships were also aware of the campaign, and collected solid debris on their regular itineraries. The campaign certainly improves the environmental status of the islands, and this benefits the community as well as the ecosystems of the National Park and Marine Reserve.
What makes our campaign unique is our effort to remove debris from the bottom of the ocean; this is called submarine cleanup. Coastlines are not the only areas that capture rubbish, and in fact, a great deal sinks down to the bottom generating environmental impact. This year, using a team of local volunteer divers, we also cleaned the bottom of the ocean. We are very happy at providing environmental improvements which allow cooperation between different players in the Galápagos. All efforts in sustainability have a lot of common ground, and this environmental and social vision is, indeed, a summary of integral solutions in a fragile and emblematic place like the Galápagos Islands.