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Catalina Island Clean Up, Dominican Republic

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CATALINA is a precious island with white sandy beaches, near the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. It’s a protected Natural Park, where of course, there are no buildings of any kind. However, the cruise ships that come to Catalina don’t deliver tourists only but also bring something you don't find advertised in glossy brochures -- gallons of human waste. On the 15th of August 2011, under a beautiful sun, Instructors from all the diving centres in Bayahibe (leaded by marine biologist Gianluca Lamberti) together with an enthusiastic group of 10 certified divers gathered at 8.30 am in the morning for an underwater clean up event, with the tools provided by Project Aware. The first dive site to be cleaned up was the Wall, a spectacular drop off that from the beach slopes soft to the depth of 100 meters. The second dive site was the Aquarium, were incredible coral formations awaits the divers with loads of fish. During this dive an amazing encounter with a rare red seahorse delighted all the participants. After these two dives, after having collected around 12 bags full of trash and having surveyed almost 200 meters of reef, the trash was returned to the diving shop where the total weight of the bags was estimated to be roughly 18 kgs. The trash collected included several beverage plastic bottles, many bags, food containers, two 10 meters metal fishing lines, ropes, shoes… Marine debris is a problem in this area, specially if considered that during summer months more that 50 sea turtles belonging to protected genus Caretta caretta come to this side of the island to deliver thousands of eggs.  

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