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Boaters Clean Up the San Juan Estuary

Yachting's sister magazine spurs clean-up effort to benefit all boaters.

March 20, 2013
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An article in Sport Fishing, a sister publication to Yachting, spurred an effort last weekend to clean up the San Juan Estuary in Puerto Rico—where some 500 volunteers picked up 28,000 pounds of trash. The estuary is a series of lakes and lagoons just minutes away from the international airport at San Juan. It is a beautiful place to go boating and has excellent conditions for fishing, but it is currently marred by large amounts of garbage and solid waste on its shores and in the roots of its mangroves. Sport Fishing editor Doug Olander encouraged the government and citizens to take action toward conservation, and soon everyone from Univision to The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation was onboard. On March 16, a flotilla of kayaks and boats made its first pass through the estuary to begin cleanup efforts. Check out the photos, courtesy of the foundation, of all that the first flotilla was able to accomplish. Photo: Collected trash piled on to the back of boat for transport to a pick up station.

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The low-hanging fruit — trash along the river side was easier to get to than the mess not-so hidden by the mangroves.

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This was no artificial reef. One of the items pulled from the waterways was a barnacle-covered children’s electric Jeep.

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As long as they were collecting unwanted items from the estuary, divers cleaning up the inlet to the ocean also pulled out scores of invasive lion fish.

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Volunteers display their day’s catch, of a different sort.

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One of the many, many trash collection and transfer stations.

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Kayakers on the shore after their work was done — see their work behind them.

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A most unusual press conference: Government officials, including the two cabinet ministers, met the with the press in the middle of the estuary. The gentleman in the middle in the blue shirt is Israel Umpierre. He is flanked to the right and left by the cabinet members.

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After kayakers in the mangroves filled up bags, these were picked up by motorboats operated by tarpon fishing captains.
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