Oceana Belize and Scout Association
Through the joint efforts of Ocean Conservancy and the Scout Association of Belize, islanders teamed up and helped them take action for a big ocean conservation clean up day – an annual event. The goal was to clean up as much water trash as possible and keep our aquatic environment clean and healthy.
I got a participants list from Scout leader Martin who was involved in the organizing. On Ambergris Caye, in addition to the organizers, he listed Ecologic Divers, South Neighborhood Watch, The Phoenix, San Pedro Town Council, Leos Club and Cadets and tacogirl.com took part this important event. (If your business was missed please leave a comment to be added to the list)
Originally we were supposed to go on Ecologic Divers boat and cover Mexico Rocks area. Plans changed last minute and our group of 5 ended up joining the Seaduced crew on their boat. We set out to clean the mangrove channel area up to Osmin’s Mechanic Shop area in Boca Del Rio.
Not long after we set out we realized to make our work easier we needed to go back and get 2 kayaks as they would be able to get to some of the garbage what was buried deeper in the mangroves. This worked well and so did the two gaffs that Shelly brought. It was agreed more gaffs were needed for next year and a rake or two. We also brainstormed concepts for some sort of a mid size framed net on a pole would be helpful for scooping.
After the channel, we still had some time and garbage bags so we cut across the lagoon and went to the west side o the right of Brahma Blue area. It was shocking how much garbage was in both areas. We got what we could before running out of trash bags and time.
The garbage we found included: way too many motor oil containers, tires, toys, various plastic bottles, lots of styrofoam, fishing line with hooks, rope, metal, pvc pipe, spray cans, metal bike wheel frame, pillow, shoes, coolers, buckets, plastic bags and more.
The amount of garbage we saw floating along the shore line in the mangroves was disheartening.I walked away feeling saddened that we had barely made a dent yet knowing our efforts were important all the same. We collected at least 12 big bags of trash plus a lot of big stuff that was not bagged. As you can see in the pictures below the pile on Municipal Pier was growing big and that was only from 2 groups efforts. I could not stay to see the final result but I am sure San Pedro Sun and Ambergris Today will have pictures and more of the story.
First Friday group also did their monthly clean up this week. I heard about it in more detail from Sue at the blood drive. She noted this time was their best ever. They had about 20 people show up and there was a noticeable improvement of less trash this month (except for the area by the movie theater and around the bridge) To read more about that and see pictures of who showed up click through to Robert Hawkins write up The winds of change are in the air on Ambergris Caye.
Yesterday we did out first extended hours Blood Drive at the San Pedro Poly Clinic – 9:00 am – 7:00 pm. It was a long day and we were all pleased with the success of collecting 34 pints.
Being a Red Cross volunteer teaches us a lot of things and one of the big ones is flexibility. All week I was scheduled for the 9:00 am shift and willing to stay the full time if we were short on help. The day before the blood drive I got rerouted to the afternoon shift as a bunch of Med Students were now planning to come in the morning. I did not mind as that allowed for me to join the Oceana/Scouts clean up above.
By the time I got to the blood drive at 3:30 I was tired from being on the water in the hot sun picking up trash all morning. I got an instant pick me up with a cup of Caye Coffee donated by Paul to help our volunteers get through the day. Not only did he get us coffee, knowing that we did not have a coffee maker to be able to use his donation, he went and asked Simon at SP Hardware if he would donate a coffee maker to the Red Cross. Simon did not hesitate to fill his request.
We could not do it alone
Belize Red Cross San Pedro branch and SP Cancer Society appreciate all the donors that came out to yesterday’s blood drive. A shout out to volunteers from both, the Washington University Medical School and the SP community who came to help out.
We would also like to give a big thank you all of our sponsors: Tropic Air, Ramon’s Village Resort, Caye Coffee, El Fogon, Marbucks, Coco Locos,, and SP Hardware. Also Dr Otto Rodriguez Poly clinic for hosting us and providing a large water.
The successful blood drive could not do it without everyone’s help. Thanks also goes out to all those that made a cash donation, watch local press and BRCSP Facebook for total raised.
In addition to the 34 pints mentioned above, the Red Cross is super pleased that 3 of those pints the were rare O-. There is now a “rare blood types list” started and the Red Cross is working towards filling it, this way it will be easier to get in touch with donors when O- blood is needed.
Another thing that was done this time to increase the donations was to group text message all the regular donors the day of the drive. Several people said this was very helpful in making sure the blood drive got on their Saturday to do list.
If you want to get on either of the lists mentioned above, please make contact via our Facebook page or by email both listed below.
The blood collected at each island blood drive is held in trust at the Belize Blood Bank for use specifically by the Ambergris Caye Community whether it be for locals or tourists, a planned procedure or emergency situation. While we have a set allocation in our reserve, blood has a shelf life. Approximately 36 days at refrigerated temperatures.
With that in mind, it would be all too easy for the country to have very little or no blood between expiry and usage. This is why what the Red Cross is doing is so important and really is grateful for all the support. We are setting our goals high to get more regular donors at our quarterly drives. We also want to eventually get the whole country more involved and see a need for this as people from Punta Gorda, Corozal, Dangriga, Belize City and Belmopan have all looked to us for help after learning about our reserve.
If you would like to take our monthly first aid course, become a member or volunteer for Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch please contact info.brcsp@gmail[dot]com. You can also show support by liking our Facebook page Belize Red Cross – San Pedro and inviting all your local friends to do the same. Like Belize Volunteer Blood Donor Service Facebook page if you want to keep up with what they are doing beyond our San Pedro Blood Drives.
In addition to a welcome cup of coffee mentioned above, I was surprised and delighted to see that there were still some heart shaped cookies left from Marbucks by the time I arrived for my shift. I was sure they would be all gone. Marlene and her husband both showed up to donate blood as well.
After the blood drive Sue had plans to go to dinner with the Belize Blood services crew and invited me to join them. Since Ramon’s Village resort was hosting them, we decided to eat at their onsite restaurant Pineapples and Dion from San Pedro Sun joined us. I had so many questions I wanted to ask Belize Blood services but after such a long day I left them for future and just enjoyed getting to know everyone more on a personal level.