The month of June ended on a ‘green and sustainable’ note for the Mauritius Team who partnered with the NGO Reef Conservation to celebrate World Environment Day and World Oceans Day.
85 colleagues from Mauritius enthusiastically volunteered on 18 and 25 June for a series of fun, educative and bonding activities around the theme of ‘Walk the Talk’.
Beach Clean-Up at Melville Beach, Grand-Gaube
Environmental awareness is one of the powerful tools we have at our disposition to tackle the several threats our natural environment faces. The community will only be able to protect terrestrial and marine ecosystems when they know the importance of these ecosystems and how our survival is directly related to healthy ecosystems.
Our first activity started at Melville beach in Grand Gaube. The clean-up sessions were facilitated by passionate educators that guided the participants and shared knowledge about the types of waste being collected and their impacts on the environment and biodiversity, with a focus on plastic pollution and microplastics. Once the clean-up was done, we weighted and sorted the rubbish into different categories identifying items that can be recycled. 56kg and 143kg of waste was collected by each group.
Sensitisation sessions in Bis Lamer
Following the clean-up, our colleagues went to Cap Malheureux beach for the second part of the day. While waiting for lunch time, we had a fun game where each team had to ‘mimic’ marine animals.
After lunch, the Marine Biologists and Educators from Reef Conservation facilitated awareness sessions on the marine ecosystem in Bis Lamer (translated as: Bus of the Sea).
In Bis Lamer, the educators explained the importance of plankton in the marine ecosystem and the food chain from microscopic plankton to big marine predators and then to humans. We learned how plastic breaks down into tiny particles and how it passes from plankton to humans. We also had the opportunity to observe the microorganism through microscope in Bis Lamer.
Corals also play a great role in the marine and land ecosystems, from protecting coastlines from storms and erosions to help in reducing high temperature on land. We learned from Reef conservation that the calm 234km2 lagoon that Mauritius boasts of, is due to a 150 km protective coral reef layer.
Boat trip to the Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) in Anse la Raie lagoon
A Voluntary Marine Conservation Area is a protected area in the lagoon chosen by and for the local community (fishermen, local inhabitants, hotels, tourism operators, NGOs). It is strictly prohibited to touch the marine organisms, walk on corals, take anything from the sea, throw rubbish or food and throw anchor on live coral.
The objectives of a VMCA is to stop the degraded states of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems and to prevent the marine biodiversity to decrease: less fish, crabs, sea cucumbers and live corals.
During the boat trip, educators gave very detailed explanations on what type of corals and marine species we have in the protected area and we were able to observe the live corals current state.
Our 85 volunteers spent two fantastic days with Reef Conservation NGO learning how to help preserve the precious marine ecosystem of Mauritius. Thank you to the ABC Committee, the CSR Team and others who were involved in the organisation. Our volunteers will surely now #WalktheTalk!