A grant has been made under the Creativity for Change priority to the Galapagos Conservation Trust to support youth-led Action against Marine Plastics in Galapagos. Research conducted by the Galapagos Science Centre and Galapagos National Park Service reported that of 30 randomly chosen marine and terrestrial sites, every single one contained macro and/or microplastics.
The grant specifically supports work by Grupo Eco Cultural Organizado (GECO), a community group that has been established in San Cristobal Island for ten years and has close links with the tourism industry, including the Park Guide Association and local hotels. Through a range of community engagement and campaign techniques, the aim is to change consumer and vendor attitudes towards disposable plastic use. The first target will be plastic bags and the project’s aim is to reduce the number of plastic bags used on the island by 50% in the next year from baseline data collected in 2015.
This youth-led project is the first in Galapagos to deliver a comprehensive educational community campaign on the reduced usage of disposable plastics. Local teenagers – members of a “Plastic Reduction Club” – have designed, produced, and delivered campaign materials as part of a pilot project and this new funding will help extend the campaign to local hotels and continue to engage popular shops in San Cristobal to stock reusable bags and supply to customers; produce and distribute an awareness-raising film on the issue of marine plastic pollution in Galapagos and the work of GECO, for a local and international audience; and deliver a social media campaign for local people in Galapagos (managed by GECO) and internationally (managed by GCT in the UK) to spread campaign messaging further.