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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Carraízo reservoir clean-up declared a success

By Richard Gutiérrez

An impressive 18 tons of rubbish were successfully extracted from the Carraízo Reservoir during the 15th annual cleaning event, held on Saturday, July 15, hosted by the Gurabo Fishing Club. This initiative, known as ‘For You and For Me, a Clean Carraízo,’ garnered support from multiple organizations and received assistance from the municipality of Gurabo.

The event was a collaborative effort, bringing together members of state and federal agencies, local communities, private entities, the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewer Authority (AAA), the Department of Natural Resources, and the municipal governments of Gurabo and Trujillo Alto. Vice President of the fishing club, Migdalia Santana, expressed her satisfaction to the Star: “We were able to retrieve many large pieces of rubbish from the water, including refrigerators and tires.”

Since 2007, the Gurabo Fishing Club has been organizing these annual clean-ups, consistently uniting different groups for more efficient results. Over the years, a cumulative total of 318 tons of floating and submerged trash has been removed from the reservoir.

Santana provided insights into the types of materials collected during the clean-up, stating, “We found a significant amount of metals and plastics, along with glass items, car tires, and numerous refrigerators. Boats played a crucial role in retrieving the refrigerators that were floating far away.”

Although this year’s event saw a slight decline in attendance compared to previous years, Santana praised the dedication of the dozens of volunteers who worked tirelessly to clean up the reservoir. “While we expected more people, the support we received was still invaluable. Both those in boats and on the shores contributed to the clean-up effort, and the Municipality of Gurabo played their part by removing the collected trash with their garbage trucks,” Santana explained.

Despite the successful outcome, the absence of government officials raised questions. Santana speculated that the current circumstances might have led to conflicting schedules, but she emphasized their past support and gratitude for the assistance they had provided in previous clean-ups.

Highlighting the importance of diversity in attendance, Santana praised the volunteers from various backgrounds, ages, and professions. She stressed that involving young people creates environmental consciousness from an early age, as they spread the message of their involvement in the clean-up, leading to improved water quality not only in Carraízo but in all reservoirs.

While celebrating the success of the event, Santana acknowledged that much more effort is needed to educate the public about the sources of water contamination. She revealed, “Many items end up in the reservoir unintentionally because people place rubbish near their lands, and heavy rainfall causes landslides that carry the debris into the water. We must teach people how their trash ends up in the reservoir unknowingly, as it negatively impacts the water quality, necessitating additional chemical treatment by the AAA.”

Santana concluded by announcing future opportunities to contribute to nature and the environment, with the next cleaning event scheduled for April 20th, 2024, from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.

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