An organization known mainly for its turtle conservation efforts held its monthly beach clean-up on Sunday in Bacocho. Starting at 7 a.m., volunteers from the Vivemar team scoured the beach in the morning sun, collecting trash for over three hours.
Last month the team cleaned Colorada Beach and were overwhelmed by the amount of trash they found. However, Bacocho was a happy surprise this month. The team had eight large bags of trash that weren’t even completely filled by the end of the cleanup.
“We do a beach cleanup each month on one of the beaches in our territory,” said organization president Hugo Ibañez. “We usually choose the dirtiest. But we’d done all the others so this month it was just Bacocho’s turn . . . There’s more awareness. There wasn’t a lot a lot of trash.”
Vivemar is a non-government organization founded in 2011 to conserve and protect the flora and fauna along 27 kilometers of the coast. They’re probably most well known for their efforts in turtle conservation. Both local and international volunteers make up a vital part of the team, heading out every night to patrol their beaches.
From 2017-2022, Vivemar released four species of more than 639,100 turtles into the ocean, two species of which are in critical danger of extinction. “We have one of the best percentages of eggs being born. It’s because we do our work with love. We handle [the turtle eggs] with care and love. And it makes a difference.”
They have four corrals protecting the eggs in the areas where they do the baby turtle releases, of which Bacocho is the most popular. Vivemar was the first organization to use ecotourism as a way to be self-sufficient as an organization. And after so long in this line of work, Vivemar is a household name for many in the community.
“Since we started, people are more conscientious,” Ibañez said. “We have programs in the schools, too. We want people to place importance on the environment.”
In fact, the “mar” in the organization’s name is actually an acronym for mangroves, birds, and reptiles (in Spanish: manglares, aves, reptiles). “We said that if we protect those three ecosystems, we would have a better quality of life.“
Like many other environmental groups in Puerto, Vivemar is concerned about the continued development of Puerto Escondido without the proper infrastructure to support it.
“We have to even things out and find balance. Otherwise, Puerto will collapse. The most urgent thing right now is sanitation. Proper sanitation needs to happen before anything else.”
And with one of Vivemar’s beaches, Colorada, in danger of being privately developed, Ibañez echoes the sentiments of many others.
“Everyone likes Colorada as it is. The politicians have a different mentality . . . Now there are many conscientious people. And the people have a lot of power together. If the people come together, anything is possible.”
Ibañez says it is urgent that the local community to get involved.
“Everything depends on the citizens who love their land so much . . . There needs to be harmony between the community and the environment. If we do things that way, we’ll keep moving forward, and we won’t have any problems. We’ll move forward together. That would be marvelous.”
El Sol de Puerto