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World Water Day expands through Chile



Environment Updates

Save The Waves hits 40 sites in Chile for World Water Day

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 March, 2014 - In its third annual “Unidos Por Aguas Limpias” (United for Clean Water) campaign, Save The Waves Coalition celebrated World Water Day with over 1200 volunteers participating in beach clean ups and water quality training at more than 40 sites spread throughout Chile.

Spread from Arica in the far north of Chile to Punta Arenas in the Patagonian south, and including a sister site in Santa Monica, CA, a record number of volunteers removed an estimated combined 12,000 pounds of trash and plastics from over 30 miles of coastline. Additionally, the coordinators at five central cleanup sites performed water quality monitoring with their volunteer groups at select locations gathering baseline data on turbidity, temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen content for coastal waterways. 
“In a country over 2,600 miles long, there is no shortage of threats to a healthy coastline” said Gavin Comstock, Save The Waves Coalition Program Manager.  “For our third consecutive year, the campaign provided a national platform for local organizations and communities to connect and work towards solutions for protecting coastal and water resources along some of the most diverse and beautiful coast in the world.”
Again in 2014, as in years past, “Unidos Por Aguas Limpias” was supported by the dedicated local individuals, businesses, and NGO’s who assumed the role of local coordinators and motivators in their respective communities. In addition to the pivotal role played by Maule Itate Coastkeeper, this year’s effort was strengthened by a new partnership with WWF Chile, adding several cleanup sites around Southern Chile.
In La Serena, a cleanup led by Seba Carvallo from Olas Limpias, and supported by WWF Chile volunteers, a group of nearly 200 people gathered to clean Punta Teatinos.  At 11am volunteers representing numerous organizations and community groups, but united for one cause, began gathering on the beach at Punta Teatinos.  The full day’s activity included the beach cleanup, environmental discussions, a freesurf, and a barbeque.

Cleanups were nearly derailed in northern Chile when a 5.8 tremor shook both Arica and Iquique in the hours before activity was supposed to begin. Nonetheless, once safety was assured, volunteers at the both cleanup locations showed up to take on the cause they had promised to support.  
“We were really excited to see all of the support for this campaign among new partners on the ground” Said Nik Strong-Cvetich, Executive Director of Save The Waves.

The 2014 list of partners included Asociación de Surf de Arica, Buchu's Hostal y Pizza, ChileSurf, CostaSur, CuranipeTur, Eco-Surf Chile, GoodVibes Surf Shop, Humboldt Coast, Los Robles NO, Olas Limpias, Outdoors, Punto Lobos Reciclaje, Radio Ambrosio, Surf House, Temuco Sustenable,  Salazar Surfboards, Save The Waves Juniors, Surf Hunters, and WWF Chile.  Further support was provided by the municipalities of Arica, Pelluhue, Pichilemu, Cobquecura, Constitucion, Horcon, and La Serena.
The “United for Clean Water” campaign was also generously supported by Patagonia, The Marisla Foundation, Bureo Skateboards, Haka Hono Chile, and Virutex. In addition to funding the coordination of the campaign, these sponsors also called on their supporters to participate at several cleanup sites in central and southern Chile. 

Gavin Comstock

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