CLPP Puerto Rico
Last week we headed to the Caribbean to implement the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) across the main island of Puerto Rico and on the island of Vieques. We worked with our Responsible Pier Initiative partners at Black Beard Sports and Ticatove to install cigarette ash receptacles, reinstall Sea Turtle Safe Project SHIELD signs at popular dive spots and even made time for an underwater cleanup. Trip highlights are below.
Day 1: Upon arriving in San Juan, we grabbed lunch and headed northeast to Ceiba.
Day 2: After a successful first day, we began the next day in the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico – Viejo (Old) San Juan.
Day 3: We packed up our tools and supplies and headed to the San Juan International Airport for an 11 a.m. flight to the nearby island of Vieques. We’ve been working in Puerto Rico for the past two years. Based on our experiences, if something is going to go wrong on a trip, it’s going to happen in San Juan (we call it the San Juan curse). However, everything to this point was going as planned – we accomplished all that we set out to do and were ahead of schedule.
We boarded our flight for the quick 20-minute ride to Vieques and were on our way.
After being in the air for nearly 40 minutes, we began our descent, but to our surprise, we were not landing in Vieques! It was not until we were on the ground, doors open, that the captain told us we had to turn around and head back to San Juan due to bad weather. The San Juan curse got us again! So we headed back to the airport and waited for the weather to clear up. Less than an hour later, we were on our way back to Vieques.
Day 1: We began our time in Vieques by installing cigarette ash receptacles at 9 pavilions at Playa Caracas – one of the locals’ favorite beaches. We were joined by Cristina of Black Beard Sports and Ticatove.
Next we headed to Mosquito Pier. We last visited Mosquito Pier in December 2015 when we installed Project SHIELD signs at the popular dive location. Cristina informed us that the fence where we hung the signs was falling down and we may need to find a new location. We checked out the site and agreed that the signs needed to be relocated.
After deciding that our only option would be to build our own posts, we headed off to the local hardware store.
Mosquito Pier is the most popular dive and snorkel site on the island of Vieques. Each day, local shops bring divers and snorkeler of all levels to enjoy the diverse marine ecosystems found in the area, including sea turtles, corals, tropical fish and even the occasional dolphin. By installing signs near the entry point, we have the potential to spread environmental education and conservation best practices to thousands of visitors each year.
We finished up the day by installing cigarette ash receptacles in popular fishing locations on Mosquito Pier.
Day 2: We woke up early to join Cristina at Mosquito Pier for an underwater cleanup.
We spent the rest of the day coordinating future projects and preparing for our early flight back to Florida the next day.
Hasta luego, Vieques!