Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena

by Fundacion Bahia y Ecosistemas de Colombia
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Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
Fight plastic pollution in the bay of Cartagena
School students aboard the Antares for a cleanup!
School students aboard the Antares for a cleanup!

2022 is proving to be a year of opportunities and surprises! While starting slowly during the first 3 months, in April the energy rocketed to the sky! We celebrated our first ever Plastic Fishing Event with Corona and over 90 local fishermen participated! With a record of 4 tons of plastic from the sea, beaches and mangroves, the effort left us dreaming of winning this never-ending fight against plastic pollution! The event left a major positive impact in the community with the donation of a plastic compacting machine for the local recycling association. p

The basis of it all is the education! Our educational program Clean Seas: Guardians of the Ocean is gaining track with four new schools taking advantage of our workshops and beach clean ups. Volunteers from Cojowa, Montessori, Gimnasio Everest and the public primary school in la Boquilla Sede San Felipe are making strides and becoming guardians of the ocean. Our workshop in la Boquilla the 1st of June was amazing with 23 students per session for 1st, 3rd and 5th grades. Girls and boys from la Boquilla learned to separate residues and of the importance of preserving their beloved ecosystems. Then, they played fun games reinforcing all they had learned! We hope to broaden the scope and work with more public schools in the coming months, so please help us reach more students through your generous donations!

Thanks to the involvement of the Latimpact congress we were able to organize a cleanup and mangrove planting in Punta Arena on April 24th. Many thanks to the 38 volunteers from Latimpact and to the members of the community with whom we planted 50 mangrove trees! The goal was to mitigate the carbon footprint, aid this vulnerable swampland regain equilibrium and fortify conservation efforts and intent within the community in the island of Tierra Bomba.

Another great milestone reached during April was the ESMT team visit, with an amazing group of committed and brilliant students who analyzed in depth and recommended great improvements to the Foundation´s organizational and operative structure. Many thanks for their contributions and energy. We miss having them in our events and activities and hope they will come back soon!

The educational effort to organize a sunset workshop finally took the perfect form. Many thanks to the support from Escuela Taller and their historian Rodrigo Alfaro, who conducted an amazing historical workshop, while we touched upon the environmental importance of our bay. Coming soon our very own hearing aids for these workshops reaching a higher level!

Thank you for your continued support to our project and our work. We hope you will continue supporting efforts to rid the ocean from plastic and to strengthen the education within our communities and city. If you come to Cartagena please join our sunset educational workshop in the bay. We want locals and visitors to learn about the environmental, cultural and historical importance of the bay. To learn about the bay enables us to love it, in order to better care for it! Thank you for reading!

Plastic fishing event with local fishermen!
Plastic fishing event with local fishermen!
Winner of the fishing plastic tournament!
Winner of the fishing plastic tournament!
Latimpacto volunteers during the mangrove planting
Latimpacto volunteers during the mangrove planting
Explaining methodology for clean up!
Explaining methodology for clean up!
Bird watching workshop in Punta Arena
Bird watching workshop in Punta Arena
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Birdwatching workshop! feb. 5 2022
Birdwatching workshop! feb. 5 2022

Each new year comes with a renewed purpose and a desire to have a fresh start. This year is no different in our quest for sustainability and in our fight against plastic pollution at sea, but we are indeed starting a new chapter in our work in Punta Arena!

The Fundacion Bahia team feels proud of its achievements in terms of an increased environmental awareness, improvement in residue management and quality of life, not only in Punta Arena but in other parts of the city as well. Thanks to our educational program Guardians of the Ocean (Guardianes del Océano) and our educational booklet Soy Mar (I am Sea) we were able to reach more people and impact the beaches of la Boquilla, Bocagrande and Caño del Oro with our workshops and clean-ups. We will continue to work with these communities in an effort to maintain clean healthy seas, thriving with life!

In Punta Arena during 2021 Fundacion Bahia implemented an environmental action plan to help conservation efforts conducting a total of 33 workshops, training 227 people, leading 9 clean ups with 352 volunteers, with a total of 1,268 kilograms picked up; set up the signs for the ecological trail in an effort to conserve the ¨ciénaga¨; strengthened 7 local associations including local recyclers who in turn were able to recycle 1,250 kgs; visited 200 households to teach how to separate at source and impacted 1,500 people in the community; adding another 2 tons approx. to the previous 247 tons we have stopped from falling into the ocean.

This year our goal is to continue educating volunteers and communities on the importance of preserving our beaches, our ocean and the great mangrove swamps ¨cienagas¨ (inland bodies of water connected to the ocean) around the city and especially in Punta Arena. The revival of local culture and history is important to recover the sense of what really matters and for communities to appropriate the process. We will continue working with local allies, such as the community council, the recyclers association, local restaurants and hotels, other NGOs, but also the Botanical Gardens, Montessori School, Escuela Taller and other partners in order to broaden the information available on the ecological trail in Punta Arena and reach more students, more communities, more in depth.

Our latest bird watching workshop at the eco-trail on Feb. 5 was an amazing experience, thanks not only to the great Professor Restrepo and his amazing students, but also thanks to local leader and passionate former fisherman Delimiro, who shared his experience. We were able to observe 23 different bird species during our walk and to learn how the community used to harvest sea salt from this same place. The exchange of knowledge is vital for the construction of effective environmental and cultural conservation strategies.

Thank you all very much for your continued support to our project and our work. We hope you will continue supporting this great cause of Clean Seas! Please do also come soon to experience one of our clean ups or our Eco Trail in Punta Arena, and make it your own!

Clean up and workshop in Cano del Oro. Dic 2021
Clean up and workshop in Cano del Oro. Dic 2021
Eco Trail Clean up and signs! Dic 2021
Eco Trail Clean up and signs! Dic 2021
Clean Up in La Boquilla. Nov 2021
Clean Up in La Boquilla. Nov 2021
Visit to local recyclers and their storage center!
Visit to local recyclers and their storage center!
Eco trail!
Eco trail!
Delimiro in action!
Delimiro in action!
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Eco cycling in Punta Arena
Eco cycling in Punta Arena

 On the ongoing fight against plastic pollution in the ocean, Fundación Bahía focused on the community of Punta Arena, in the island of Tierra Bomba. Roughly 1,500 inhabitants benefitted from the positive impacts of increased environmental education, conservation efforts, strengthening of the recycling system and the local recyclers´ association and other local groups and sustainable actions, such as supporting ecotourism activities and artistic interventions. The project´s positive impact on the Punta Arena community has surpassed the expected results due to the community's appropriation of the activities and objectives. We work with local organizations such as: Community Council, Recyclers, Environmental Guard, Environmental Volunteering group, Restaurants, Hotels, the community in general, children and youth, Eco-guides and motorcycle taxi drivers, strengthening environmental education in each one and emphasizing the importance of recovering and conserving the territory through different strategies that each organization and / or person identifies that they can carry out. Sustainable Punta Arena meant a change in the habits of the community, recognizing and valuing its enormous eco-tourism potential, due to the environmental and awareness-raising work that the Bahía Foundation and its allies carry out on the island.

 

Our educational program Clean Seas: Guardians of the Oceans and its workbook Soy Mar, provided us with the tools with which to strenthen the environmental education in the community. Allies and volunteers also helped us to provide and conduct a total of 33 workshops with a varying range of themes, impacting and helping form about 227 community members. 

As part of the conservation efforts to preserve the mangrove and the oceans and beaches, including the bay, Fundacion Bahia organized eight major clean ups, picking up a total of 1,183 kgs. These cleanup brigades were highly educational, setting the tone for adequate separation at source and residue management.

 

In order to teach separation at source and incentivize recycling the foundation team and a group of local volunteers from the eco guides group visited about 200 houses and local shops. A sticker with the basic guidelines was handed out and a survey conducted on what sustainable practices ought to be pursued.

 

The artistic intervention, whereas the environmental message is delivered through art was a success, with 4 murals made from recycled plastic caps picked up during cleanups. Children, youth and our team benefitted from the visit of a great artist, Maria Antonia Ruiz, who taught a great technique. Our allies in the island made clean ups and artistic intervention easier and more fun. Locals pitched in and benefitted from 4 recycling stations, 4 murals, 33 workshops, 8 cleanups and tons of residues no longer at risk of falling into the ocean carelessly.

 

The efforts to support eco-tourism activities as part of the sustainable actions, also proved to be what the community is most attuned to. Punta Arena is famous for its white beaches but now thanks to our ecological trail, the formation given to our eco guides, people can now discover alternative ways to enjoy the island. Bird watching, cycling around the island or simply walking around the town to discover one of the 7 murals currently on open air display are some of the activities the foundation encourages. Conservation pays, and people are seeing how it is better to preserve ecosystems, not only for their own health and well-being, but also as a way to make a decent living. Economic opportunities are the only guarantee to seeing a clean healthy ecosystem, community, island.

 

Thanks for all your support and please come visit Punta Arena with us!  

Clean up Valentines Day
Clean up Valentines Day
Bird watching workshop and route in Punta Arena!
Bird watching workshop and route in Punta Arena!
Eco Crab mural with recycled materials!
Eco Crab mural with recycled materials!
Team clean up in Punta Arena, island of Tierra Bom
Team clean up in Punta Arena, island of Tierra Bom
Drilling and working on the murals
Drilling and working on the murals
Aboard the Antares for a bicycle eco ride!
Aboard the Antares for a bicycle eco ride!
Fish mural in the making!
Fish mural in the making!
Seahorse mural in Punta Arena by Marion Ve
Seahorse mural in Punta Arena by Marion Ve
Supporting recyclers
Supporting recyclers
Glass recycling workshop, make your glass!
Glass recycling workshop, make your glass!
recycling plastic caps for art
recycling plastic caps for art
Fish mural and team!
Fish mural and team!

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World ocean day beach, ocean and mangrove cleanup!
World ocean day beach, ocean and mangrove cleanup!

Fundacion Bahia is proud to report great progress with its environmental and social work so far! As stated in our previous report, this year´s goal is to continue our environmental education efforts for the protection of the bay of Cartagena, but also to help the community of Punta Arena, in the island of Tierra Bomba, by strengthening local associations and coming closer to sustainable actions for the improvement of the quality of life for all and the preservation of our shared ecosystems. 

Fundación Bahia´s main projects this 2021 are Sustainable Punta Arena and Clean Seas: Guardians of the Ocean. The educational program based on our workbook Soy mar (I am sea) is part of the Clean Sea project, but also at the base of our educational initiative in Punta Arena, where a group of roughly 20 locals are being formed to protect our oceans and ecosystems.  In Cartagena there are another 40 student volunteers willing to participate in clean up and educational activities to increase environmental awareness.

In Punta Arena we are continuing to boost environmental education. During February, April and March the focus was on strengthening the local recyclers association, young members of the Environmental Guards and the association of restaurateurs from Punta Arena. The local recycler association Asocomangle is receiving reinforcement and workshops in alliance with Fundes - Reciclamos Juntos project. Recyclers have received more than 10 workshops and technical assistance in reviewing their recycling routes, administrative and managerial skills reinforcement, and even life plans for themselves and their families.  During the months of May and June, the Fundacion Bahia team and local volunteers joined to strategize and the goal is to reach more than 200 households and shops within the community in an effort to increase recycling, improve separation at source practices and encourage better residue management. Increased awareness through house to house visits and shops is important in order to protect vulnerable ecosystems such as the Cienaga, an inner body of water or swamp that has all the potential to become an ecotourism hot spot.

One of the critical points in terms of the environmental health of the community and the conservation of its territory is related to this Cienaga de la Salina, located at the back of the town. At the beginning of the project, during the first roundtables and socialization of objectives, the need for the community to raise awareness among restaurateurs who continue to dump waste into the swamp was raised. The problem of the swamp is profound and does not depend only on the community council or the technical support of the foundation for its resolution. The swamp faces the phenomenon that so many other bodies of water face: drying out and land-filling with waste and rubbish for construction. In Punta Arena it is still possible to save parts of it, or at least prevent its total deterioration. However, this requires that the entire community agree and cease its activities of landfill and excessive construction. For this, we try to revalue this body of water and promote a shared vision of its eco-tourism importance that will hopefully gain strength and sink into the collective unconscious and consciousness of the entire population.

With the economic reactivation after the pandemic and the high tourism season of December and January 2021, it became clear that the garbage collection service in the community was inefficient or insufficient. This, added to the fact that the recyclers were disbanded and leaderless, made the locals revert to using the swamp as a garbage dump again. The first step to curb this harmful behavior was to establish contact with restaurateurs and recyclers - to ensure their reactivation, since their work is essential for cleaning Punta Arena. We also invited the operating company in charge of waste collection to join the project and improve its level of commitment and attention to the community.

The unexpected visit of Paul Akers, author and recognized speaker of Lean Culture, helped us to invite the community youngsters and restaurant owners to eliminate any waste of time and resources in order to enhance productivity. This incredible lecturer gave his talk to the members of the Environmental Guard and the restaurant owners, promoting the culture of non-waste in the community.

Thanks to our allies and local volunteers we organized 4 beach cleanups in Punta Arena, and another two in Cartagena. The group of volunteers have made it their task to clean up the road leading to the cienaga in an effort to recover the area. Important allies include Ecopazifico, who brought the recycling stations to town, as well as local hotels Namaste and Fenix Beach. We also joined forces with Tu Cultura and participated in a clean-up just outside the old city. In total, more than 700 kilos of residues, mostly plastic, were prevented from entering the ocean and the bay of Cartagena. Our cleanups are educational, with proved methodology and celebrate the environmental message through art! 

Thanks to your generous support as well as funding from Tamarin Foundation through Give to Colombia, and the support of all of our allies and volunteers, Fundación Bahía is able to continue to work in Punta Arena and in Cartagena, raising environmental awareness and education to better face the challenges of today and the future.  We can all be guardians of the ocean! Please follow us on social media to learn of our progress in real time. Many thanks for your support!

Local recyclers Punta Arena
Local recyclers Punta Arena
Beach Clean Up March 27, 2021
Beach Clean Up March 27, 2021
Children working on mural!
Children working on mural!
Finished environmental mural
Finished environmental mural
Alliances at work for cleaning up Punta Arena
Alliances at work for cleaning up Punta Arena
Cleaning up la Cienaga de la Salina!
Cleaning up la Cienaga de la Salina!
Lean no waste workshop with environmental guards
Lean no waste workshop with environmental guards
Guardians of the ocean workshop!
Guardians of the ocean workshop!
Underwater clean up on June 8th, 2021
Underwater clean up on June 8th, 2021
World environmental day beach cleanup! Jun5th
World environmental day beach cleanup! Jun5th
House by house raising awareness strategy!
House by house raising awareness strategy!
Cartagena beach clean up!
Cartagena beach clean up!
Visits to restaurants to improve recycling
Visits to restaurants to improve recycling

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Eco Artistic mural with recycled materials!
Eco Artistic mural with recycled materials!

How do we attain sustainability goals for 2021? Last year we managed to fight plastic pollution at sea through our environmental volunteer program at the heart of the Punta Arena community, while also fighting hunger, despair and abandonment in this and other insular communities of Cartagena. This year our goal is to continue our environmental education efforts for the protection of the bay of Cartagena, but also to help Punta Arena and other communities that seek our help, by strengthening local associations and coming closer to sustainable actions for the improvement of the quality of life for all and the preservation of our shared ecosystems.

This year we will continue to educate, help clean up and strengthen residue management and recycling practices in the community Punta Arena. We will work hand in hand with the association of recyclers, the council and the Guardia Ambiental of Punta Arena, so that they are empowered and better able to reach all the households in the community. We will also work with restaurants and hotels to improve their separation at source and recycling practices so that when the next wave of tourists hit they are prepared and there are no major impacts to the environment and ocean. We hope to bring organic and productive patios to grow food, composting information and practices for all, restoration of ecosystems and commitment from the community to protect their shared environmental treasures.

But before sharing more of our plans, many thanks to all for your support last year! Thanks to your generosity Fundación Bahía was able to bring food and assistance to families in the isolated insular communities of Cartagena during the COVID-19 emergency. We reached more than 5,900 homes with food provisions, but also with face masks, alcohol and information. Fundación Bahía developed the Environmental Volunteering and Humanitarian Aid Program from July to October within bay front communities of Punta Arena and Caño del Oro, where in addition to basic food provisions, alcohol and face masks, we delivered cleanup tools such as gloves and sacks for cleaning up the communities. Families in both Punta Arena and Caño del Oro committed to cleaning up their town, streets, fronts and patios and effectively helped save contaminated bodies of water. Fundación Bahía provided technical assistance and helped organize the different groups with local leaders to take environmental action and raise awareness in the communities. Thanks to daily food rations provided by SOS Cartagena for two months in Punta Arena and one month in Caño del Oro, Fundación Bahía was able to start the program. Your generosity as that of many helped jumpstart this program. Families responded very favorably and then thanks to a generous donation from Tamarin Foundation through Give to Colombia, Fundación Bahía was able to provide for another 2 months of project with food provisions for 95 environmental volunteer families in Punta Arena. The community of Punta Arena, whose economy relied heavily on tourism, worked hard to improve habits and prepare itself for the end of the lockdown. After 4 months of intensive cleanup we were able to clean up 6 critical dump sites, removing 22 tons of ordinary solid residues, 9 tons of glass and approximately 10 tons of recyclables from the island and benefiting local recyclers! 

In our efforts to always communicate the environmental message through art, we developed eco-sign workshops for children in the community creating environmentally friendly signs and placing them strategically around the community. These eco-friendly signs have been the rave now the island has reopened to visitors! Fundación Bahía also donated the fish sculpture Guardian of the Ocean to serve as an artistic educational tool to encourage adequate residue disposal practices, separation at source and recycling. The fish sculpture also aims to warn on the dangers of plastic pollution in the ocean.

The environmental volunteer program was a success and culminated with artistic workshops and murals made from recyclable materials, thanks to the support from the Margaritas Foundation and the excellent artistic mentoring by Arte Terapia Mar. Thanks to your help we were able to reach children in both Punta Arena and Caño del Oro, for the painting of the murals.

Another great boost to the program and to both of these communities was a very important fish donation from Antillana, thanks to which Fundación Bahía channeled and distributed 2,123 kilos of fish to all homes in Punta Arena and Caño del Oro, on the island of Tierra Bomba.

Finally, thanks to the amazing support from special benefactors, including Higietex, Astivik and BDP Colombia amongst others, and especially to SOS Cartagena and its support more than 400  children in Punta Arena received gift t-shirts and a special Christmas lunch.

Thanks for an incredibly different year of 2020. The positive outweighs everything for us and for the people we were lucky to help and to work with. Many thanks to the generosity and help of friends and people from all over the world! Wishing you all the very best health, peace and happiness for 2021. We will continue to work in Punta Arena and help out insular communities around Cartagena, in an effort to strengthen environmental education and improve quality of life for present and future generations. We can all be guardians of the ocean! Please follow us on social media to learn of our progress in real time. Many thanks for your support! Muchas gracias por su apoyo! 

Eco mural in Punta Arena
Eco mural in Punta Arena
Guardian of the ocean sculpture for education!
Guardian of the ocean sculpture for education!
Local volunteers during clean up efforts.
Local volunteers during clean up efforts.
Environmental art workshops in Cano del Oro
Environmental art workshops in Cano del Oro
Finishing touches eco mural in Cano del Oro
Finishing touches eco mural in Cano del Oro
Unloading Antillana fish donations
Unloading Antillana fish donations
Team work! Workshop Cano del Oro
Team work! Workshop Cano del Oro
Eco signs in Punta Arena
Eco signs in Punta Arena
Thanks for your help!
Thanks for your help!
Gifts and smiles! Dic. 2020
Gifts and smiles! Dic. 2020
Scouting for patios in Punta Arena
Scouting for patios in Punta Arena
Dreaming during visit to Granitos de Paz
Dreaming during visit to Granitos de Paz
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Organization Information

Fundacion Bahia y Ecosistemas de Colombia

Location: Cartagena - Colombia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Diana De la Vega
Cartagena, Colombia
$18,634 raised of $40,000 goal
 
383 donations
$21,366 to go
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