SINT MAARTEN (MULLET BAY) - On Sunday December 15th, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean foundation (EPIC) is organizing a cleanup of Mullet Pond. Working in partnership with Nature Foundation and Tri-Sport, volunteers will dive, kayak, and snorkel to clean up garbage and leftover hurricane debris from the waters of this important wetland.
The cleanup is financially supported by Be The Change foundation while Island Water World is providing dive gloves for volunteers and VROMI is managing proper disposal of the waste collected.
Mullet Pond is an internationally-recognized wetland of importance and as such has been protected by the Ramsar Treaty since 2016, although it still lacks local legal protection. Wetlands are vital for human survival.
They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival.
Mullet Pond is a small, shallow area, which is semi-enclosed in Simpson Bay Lagoon but it contains some of the few intact sea-grass beds in the wider Lagoon. It is also the site of the majority of Sint Maarten’s mangrove forest.
Combined, the sea-grass beds and mangroves act as a major nursery area for juvenile fish and foraging ground for marine creatures including the globally endangered Green Turtle. Mangrove trees also protect coastlines from erosion during storms.
For these reasons and more, it is vitally important to protect Mullet Pond and keep it clean. The cleanup will start at 8:30 a.m. this December 15th and is expected to end at 11:00 a.m. Volunteers will be based mainly in the water and need to be confident swimmers aged 13 years old or older.
Nature Foundation divers will participate in the cleanup. There are volunteer opportunities for kayakers and snorkelers. Anyone with a kayak is welcome to kayak over to the Pond and join; in addition, Tri-Sport is providing double kayaks for volunteers to use. Snorkelers are requested to bring their own masks, snorkels and fins.
Not a confident swimmer? You can still help! Volunteers are needed to help get rubbish from boats, kayaks and snorkelers into the dumpsters provided by VROMI to collect the waste.
Help EPIC, Nature Foundation and Tri-Sport cleanup Mullet Pond this weekend and volunteer a morning of your time before the upcoming festive period.
The beautiful and diverse underwater world of the mangrove forest of Mullet Pond. Photo: Tadzio Bervoets
The mangrove forest of Mullet Pond provides crucial habitat above and below the water.