World Ocean Day was celebrated on the 8th of June 2019. Among the many events held worldwide were an array of activities organised by the Veranda Tamarin hotel, on Mauritius’ west coast, to preserve Tamarin’s famous bay and the surrounding area. We look back on a day honouring the ocean.
On the 8th of June, more than two hundred people joined forces in the village of Tamarin to demonstrate their commitment to the ocean and its preservation. By 8:30am, the bay was already buzzing with activity. In front of Veranda Tamarin, crowds of volunteers hoping to take part in a clean-up operation sought to register their teams; staff from the hotel and the Tamarin Surf School lined up kayaks and SUPs on the beach; divers from the Tamarin Ocean Pro Diving, the hotel’s partner diving school, pulled on their wetsuits; recycling areas were set up…
The aim of the day was to clean up Tamarin Bay and its vicinity, and to raise the local community’s awareness of the importance of waste sorting and recycling. The events were organised by Veranda Tamarin in partnership with non-profit association Tamarin Avenir Meilleur (TAM). For the hotel, it was an opportunity to build upon its existing efforts to preserve resources. Indeed, it has already implemented a number of eco-friendly initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, including improved water and energy management, recycling of waste and wastewater, initiatives to reduce its food waste, the creation of a permaculture garden…
Following an explanation of the day’s proceedings and of how to sort waste from TAM representative Aurélie Château, teams of volunteers armed with gloves and large reusable goni bags spread out to cover three different areas: underwater (in the sea), on the water (in the river) and on land (on the beach).
Two clean-up sessions took place, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. After each, participants were invited to bring their “findings” to designated areas to be weighed and sorted (into glass / plastic / cans / non-recyclables). Partners including Green Network, We Recycle, Recyclean, Zero Waste Mauritius and Plankton got their hands dirty to recycle the waste as efficiently as possible. Representatives from D&L, Yoaneye, Ocean Vibration, the #ISpeakBlueToo movement and the region’s District Council (which provided garbage trucks for non-recyclable waste) were also present.
In between the two clean-up sessions, volunteers were invited to take part in sports activities organised by the hotel, discuss waste reduction with representatives of local non-profits, enjoy typical Mauritian street snacks from the hotel’s Kas Dal grocery store and try a delicious tamarind juice, all in a festive, musical atmosphere. The more curious among them climbed aboard the Reef Conservation Association’s Bis Lamer, a mobile educational exhibit inside a bus that helps visitors discover the island’s marine life and how to preserve it.
By the end of the day, more than 1.2 tons of waste had been collected, of which a large number of cigarette butts. These are a real environmental menace: a single cigarette butt contains thousands of chemical substances that can pollute up to 500 litres of water. The two teams who picked up the most garbage during the clean-ups won a meal at the hotel, while a team of 9 and 10-year-olds from l’École Paul et Virgine received small gifts.
At the end of this day of sharing and of awareness-raising, a sunset yoga session was held in tribute to our beautiful blue planet. At the end of the session, participants formed a human chain at the water’s edge to express gratitude to the ocean, which offers us so much.
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