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Screen_Shot_2017-05-24_at_8.10.55_PMOver the weekend, Oceana in Belize held a national annual initiative to raise awareness on the importance of protecting our marine environment. The initiative is known as Hands Across the Sands and involves people turning up to make a human chain as a symbol of resistance. Today we got an update from the northern representative Ryan Rivera about how it all went.

Ryan Rivera - Oceana in Belize Corozal Rep

“Over the weekend the event, Hands Across the Sand was a fairly good one, this year we had a god turn out compared to last year we had between forty to fifty people, we had groups from the Scouts representing, we had two Scout Units and we had the Rotaract members, we had the Rotary members and members from the Anglican Church as well, and of course the Oceana Volunteers as well was fairly well and in Orange Walk as well, I think they had about twenty to twenty five people, they had one youth group, which was Seeds of Change, that participated that one I was assisted by Miss Jisell Vargas, Miss Floriceidy Valdez they did very good and I am very thankful for their assistance and we had members from the Bishop Martin High School as well that showed u so all in all was ok, in Sarteneja we had the Sartnenja Alliance for Conservation and Development members that participated and helped us in organize we had also people from the Espat Community that joined them as well so it was a fairly good even and I understand throughout the country we had many much participation as well so we very thankful for them and we look forward for next year.”

Rivera also spoke of another initiative by Oceana in Belize – an art competition for persons aged 10 to 20 years that seeks to creatively promote recycling and marine protection.

Ryan Rivera - Oceana in Belize Corozal Rep

“I would also like to take the opportunity to invite all Corozal people to participate for an art competition we are having one that is open for non-professional artist meaning amateur artist ages 10-20, it’s about recycling, it’s about commemorating one Ocean’s Day which theme for this year is Our Ocean is Our Future so we trying to create awareness on plastics so the art competition is using recycled pieces and the art pieces supposed to be at least 75%  made up of recycled or trash pieces be it plastic or foam and they have to use here different pieces meaning; plastic plates, plastic forks, plastic bottles or foam plates and plastic cups or plastic bottles but three different trash items that they need to use, a minimum of three, and when they submitted they submit the name of the piece and the name of the artist, the prizes for this competition will be two hundred dollars cash prize for first place, one hundred and fifty dollars cash prize for second place and one hundred dollars cash prize for third place and this is done thanks to the generous sponsorship from Atlantic, St. Francis Xavier Credit Union and generous assistant from the Department of Youth Services as well. We want to bring about is that plastics is one of the biggest threats to our Oceans, plastics is one of the most common trash item that are found especially when we do clean ups and they also present a significant threat to our marine life for example one of those shilling water pouches that is not properly dispose of can end up in the sea and any sea turtle can mistake it for a jelly fish; ones they eat it they ingest it and they usually get stuck and the turtles end up causing problems and eventually dies because of an infection or the fact that they cannot eat anything else and they cannot pass the plastic, also the plastic can be traps for smaller marine life and certain plastics they have been proven by some studies that they can release some chemicals that are not too good for the environment and more over plastics take a bit long, extremely long to decompose if they are actually biodegradable so it is something that we need to bring about so that people can see and can relate that plastics are damaging our marine environment so the art pieces need to be marine themed as well.”

Persons wishing to submit entries can do so before the deadline on June 8TH 2017 which is World Ocean’s Day, by dropping their artwork at the Department of Youth Services.

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