Conservation Work in
From trash to jewelry
Finding sustainable ways of getting people to continually clean the beach can be quite hard. As volunteers we would go out and conduct research on which parts of the beach had the most plastic and what kind of micro plastics were found. (Steps 1-2) During our cleanings we realized that there was an abundant amount of rope that could be used to make bracelets just like the ones sold in the local market. (Step 3) We then reached out to the local vendors who make and sell the bracelets, explaining to them that there is an enormous amount of free material right on the beach. (Step 4-5) We asked him to come and teach us and other future volunteers how to make the bracelets. This allowed the local vendor to see that tourist are interested in the bracelets, giving him the incentive to continue this process and sell the bracelets in the market, it also allowed us as volunteers to learn how we can do the same thing back home or at least share our experience by showing off our bracelet and having the chance to teach others about the need to clean our oceans.
Little is known about Whale Sharks particularly because they spend the majority of their time at lower depths and typically only come to the surface for feeding. Whale sharks though can be seen year round in Mozambique due to the high amount of plankton in the water. When feeding, whale sharks simply open their mouths and inhale the plankton in the water, the down side to this, is that its highly likely whale sharks are also taking in the same kind of micro plastics which are found on the beach. This is another reason why the project we conducted above was so important and could help possibly spread awareness through the bracelets.
The main aspect of the whale shark research was to get ID photos, in hopes of understanding where the whale sharks are coming from, why the majority are male and if they make recurring appearances. For instance one researcher discovered that a whale shark she had seen seven years ago reappeared off the coast of Mozambique. The data from whaleshark.org also allowed us to understand that some of the whale sharks in the area had been seen all over the world such as off the coast of Mexico and India, rather than staying near Africa.