World Wetlands Day 2018
Today almost 50% of the world's population lives in urban areas. Urban wetlands are found in cities and their suburbs. They play a vital role in making cities safe, resilient and sustainable (the goal of SDG 11). As urban sprawl takes its course, wetlands are under threat. Following up on ethnographic field studies carried out for the ERA4CS project INNOVA in one of Europe's outermost regions, Grit Martinez of Ecologic Institute was invited to participate in a regional World Wetlands activity in Guadeloupe.
Rivers, ponds, lakes and marshes soak up and story heavy rainfall while salt marshes and mangroves work as buffer against storm surges. The coastal region of Sainte Anne in Guadeloupe is a prime touristic destination. Beaches and wetlands attract foreign visitors all year round and are equally frequented by local population. Terrestrial and submarine plastic pollution remains a severe challenge on the island.
In collaboration with the World Wetland Day 2018 Guadeloupian NGO's CAMPEG (Carrefour d'associations et des Militants pour la Protection de 'l Environmente en Guadeloupe) and Caraïbe Écologie Les Verts Guadeloupe organized a regional activity in the wetlands near Sainte Anne. Participants came from all over the island gathering at sunrise at the entrance to the wetlands. Grit Martinez from Ecologic Institute participated in the activity during her research time for the ERA4CS project INNOVA.
After opening words of CAMPEG's president Vanessa Varin and Guadeloupe's Green Party Member and Vice-president of Sainte Anne's Commission of environment Michelle Maxo participants walked through the wetlands. More than 40 people including families with small children removed large amounts of plastics and other waste from the mangroves and marshes. On the several kilometer long trip various stops where taken where a story teller provided backgrounds on myths and legends of the creoles ancestors and explained plants and animal life of the Caribbean wetlands.