• The San Juan Daily Star

Crew captains sought for international beach cleanup day


By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


With the approach of International Coastal Cleanup Day, the Scuba Dogs Society (SDS), the official coordinator of the event in Puerto Rico, is looking for people who want to be certified as captains, as well as sponsors for the monumental operation to be held on Saturday, Sept. 18.


The executive director of the non-profit organization, Ana Trujillo, noted that already 96 captains have confirmed their participation and the SDS is now initiating the process to search for new leaders who want to be part of the cleanup team.


More captains are needed to organize groups of volunteers who will clean and restore beaches, rivers and other bodies of water.


The captains can select from the list of suggested locations or register a new location whose cleaning they wish to coordinate.


It does not necessarily have to be a body of water; it can be green areas close to bodies of water, Trujillo said.


She added that since last year’s cleanup, the number of places to be restored has been reduced due to the limitations still imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


“The same protocol will be used for health and safety standards that were successfully implemented during last year’s International Coastal Cleanup, as well as in the Thorough Cleaning carried out in April of this year,” Trujillo said. “Part of the protocol consists of the creation of small groups, whose members must be part of the same family nucleus or “bubble,” and use of a mask at all times. SDS will provide gloves and products for hand disinfection during the event. For the greater safety of the participants, we will work with a maximum of 30 people per location using the Ocean’s Clean Swell mobile app to document and report the removed materials.”


Who can be captains and how to register?


The SDS executive director emphasized the qualities that those who wish to be coastal captains must have. She said that in addition to having a firm commitment to nature, they should enjoy organizing and leading the groups of people who join the effort as volunteers.


“Your role is essential to implementing the international cleaning protocol in the body of water that corresponds to you to lead and, in addition, ensuring compliance with the protocol for COVID-19,” she said.


Once they are registered, the captains receive training, certification, cleaning and hygiene materials, an event shirt and cap, as well as the logistical support of the organization.


A special invitation is made to young people aged 14 and over, who — supported by their parents and teachers — can be captains. Up to 20 hours of the Green Contact program or community service will be certified.


The SDS also calls on municipalities and government agencies to join the event in compliance with Law 329 of 2003.


Captains registration will be open until Wednesday, Sept. 1 at www.scubadogssociety.org.