A date for your diaries! Friday November 16th 2012 On the 6th of March 2012, HEPCA in association with Tetra Pak Egypt scheduled a clean-up on Magawish Island. It was a great team effort with outstanding results and amazing involvement from Tetra Pak Egypt. As successful as the clean up turned out, Magawish Island still needs lot of work. Due to the currents, tidal flow and location of Magawish Island it acts like a filter for the flotsam and jetsam that has found its way into our Red Sea waters either ac... cidentally or more frequently as a result of carelessness and ignorance. The level of long-term rubbish that had accumulated over the years in the bays is a great cause of concern. Half buried ropes, large pieces of wood, huge quantities of glass in addition to the expected high volume of plastic bottles, bags and packaging still lie there. Thanks to Tetra Pak and its desire for more involvement to help the conservation of our natural resources in the Red Sea area, this time we are bringing out the big guns. With the sponsorship of Tetra Pak , assistance and support of the Egyptian Navy, the National Parks of the Red Sea and a work force from HEPCA's solid waste management department, we intend to clean every inch of the island. The Navy will be providing a barge which will allow the transfer of 2 loaders onto Magawish Island in order to tackle the large and deeply imbedded pieces. Workers from HEPCA will assist in this and also work with special shovels to remove the deposits of oil accumulated in corners of the bay. The loaders and barge will also assist in the transfer of the collected rubbish away from the island. But this will only be a part of the effort – we need YOU too! The lighter but plentiful plastic bottles, bags and aluminium cans also need to be picked up and this is where our army of volunteers comes in. HEPCA is inviting volunteers for a SHORE-BASED clean up. A boat will take volunteers from the New International Marina to Magawish Island departing at 10am on Friday 16th November and returning around 4pm. Arrival at the Marina can be anytime after 9.30am. When you arrive at the Marina please make your way to the third gate at the north end of the marina (closest to the new mosque) and look for the HEPCA banner. From there one of our team members will direct you to the boat which will take you directly to Magawish Island. To get a reasonably accurate idea about how many people will be participating in the island-cleanup and to organize logistics it is important that you ONLY click “ATTENDING” if you are SERIOUSLY planning to attend this cleanup! If you are not sure yet, please click MAYBE and let us know nearer the time! What you need to bring: - Shoes to wear on the beach - Hat/cap to protect your head from the sun - Gloves if possible (gardening style gloves are perfect) - Something to eat (water will be provided) - Swimming costume and towel – you may need a cool-off dip - Don’t forget to use sun cream! And last but by no means least... - A smile and a positive attitude – we are going to have fun! We would also like to invite dive centres, and their staff and guests, to join us for an underwater clean up around the island. Feel free to join us at anytime throughout the day, maybe an extra 3rd dive or a quick lunchtime dip. If you are not able to dive in the Magawish area on that day – then by all means join us by cleaning up the dive site where you are! Regardless of where you are cleaning please send photos and a short account of your dive so that we can post a full account of the day. The sustainable future of our planet relies on a clean and healthy ocean. Do not think that you can only do “a little” and that it will make no difference. Every little bit does make a difference and you can be a part of it! Please share this event as widely as possible and we look forward to seeing you on November 16. If you have any questions – please email email@example.com or call the office on 065 344 5035 and ask for Denise. Please note that children 15 years and under must be accompanied by an adult. Also, there is no shade on the island and the sun can still be strong at this time of year, so please bear this in mind when bringing younger children. This event is being organised in cooperation between HEPCA, Tetra Pak, the Egyptian Navy, the National Parks of the Red Sea and the Red Sea Governorate
KQB Keep Quseir Beautiful in collaboration with HEPCA organized a week of activities known as “Life from the Blue” from 2-6 September 2012 for schoolchildren in the Red Sea town of Al Quseir. The subject was the fragility of the environment both on land and at sea and the relationship between them. The aim was for the children to learn to love, care for and protect their sea. Lectures, games, competitions, and craft projects were organized on the following topics: Dangers to the Red Sea Environment, Cetaceans of the Red Sea, the Food Chain, Corals and Coral Bleaching. The children also conducted experiments to visualize the effects of oil spills and ocean acidification. During the food chain lecture, the children had a chance to observe the smallest organisms under microscopes. A day at the sea was included where children learnt basic snorkeling skills, and experienced, many for the first time, the underwater world. “Life from the Blue” was led by Anjelika Abou Issa, a biologist and educationalist, assisted by Mohamed Ismail, and local volunteers from Ro'ya organization. The enthusiastic volunteers were trained a week previously to guide children thorough the discussed topics and conduct lectures on their own, as well as having fun with kids playing educational games. A sense of whimsy and humor was used throughout activities to convey the serious message of environmental conservation. In the final competition it was clear that we reached our goal. The children answered question after question with enthusiasm in having this newly-acquired knowledge. Learning is fun. More pictures from the event are available on the HEPCA and KQB facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/KQB-Keep-Quseir-Beautiful/154603444610258?sk=photos_albums).
The carapaces were destined for the Hurghada black market where middle-men buy them for an insignificant price (40 to 70 EGP according to the size of the carapace) and then re-sell them for much higher prices. It would seem that some tourists are willing to pay quite handsomely for a clean and shining carapace ignoring the fact that all marine turtles are protected by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES,www.cites.org) which forbids importing and exporting marine turtles and derived products in all the signatory countries (which includes Egypt and most European countries). The trade in hawksbill turtle shells started a long time ago with the Greeks and Romans using it mainly for jewelry. In recent years, the use of turtle shell for utilitarian products (like combs and brushes) was replaced by plastic and now it is only found in luxury products. Hawksbill turtles are considered as critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List (www.iucnredlist.org) because of the intensive harvest in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most divers and snorkelers coming to the Red Sea are lucky enough to spot at least one turtle during their stay, however if the demand for turtle products increases, we will see less and less individuals at sea and more and more carapaces for sale. Unfortunately, the trafficking of marine wildlife is not limited to sea turtles only. If you go for a walk in the main shopping areas in Hurghada you will see dry seahorses, shells, starfish and puffer fish for sale. The place of all these animals should be in the sea, where we could all enjoy them while diving or snorkeling. One can think that buying one turtle shell or one seahorse is not a big deal, it is only one and there are hundreds out there. That problem is that there is never just one person asking for these items and the black market is fuelled by the demand and the high price people are willing to pay to bring home a piece of the Red Sea, even a dead piece. So, if you are offered products here in Egypt, or any other tourist destination, made with turtle shell or other marine wildlife, please refuse to buy them. And remember that importing species of animals and plants included on the CITES register is likely to result in the payment of a significant fine and the confiscation of the products you have bought. If there is no demand, the illegal capture and collection of these items will cease and the life in our seas will survive and flourish for future generations to enjoy.
The campaign was launched on 27th September at Thebes Integrated International School in Cairo. Some 250 students attended the lecture and took part in discussions on marine natural resources, solid waste management and issues affecting the local community in the Red Sea area. A large proportion of this information was new to the Cairo based students and many students from the school will soon be joining Dr Mohammed on the FEEL Project (Future Egyptian Environmental Leaders) See our website for more information The FEEL project aims to raise awareness among Egyptian youth of the importance of the conservation of our natural resources and to decrease the knowledge gap between stakeholders and environmental activists. Certainly the students from Thebes International School enjoyed their introduction to these issues and we look forward to their participation in the field.