Off the coast of Haiti, the water is blue, clear, and warm. At first glance, it may seem like any other Carribean paradise. Unfortunately, however, this isn't necessarily the case. Massive amounts of plastic and trash make their way to the mouths of rivers and out into the open ocean spoiling what could be, under different circumstances, a pristinely beautiful ocean environment.
It is a known fact that Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Whatever resources the country does have are used just to sustain the most basic living standards for those on the island. With 80% of Haitians living in poverty, the money required to build infrastructure and systems for waste management and recycling simply has never been available. There is no weekly garbage pickup. There are no bins for recycling. So in places like Haiti, trash goes on the ground. That is just the way it is.
However, with the opening of 4ocean Haiti and the build-out of our amazing cleanup team there, which has grown to 80+ individuals, we are trying to change the attitudes and perceptions of the Haitian people while also providing some of the necessary capital and infrastructure to begin tackling the problem.
Enter Captain Fred Pierre Louis, one of the captains in charge of the daily cleanup boats. Captain Louis brings to the team local knowledge and extreme passion for his country. With a never say quit attitude and a true understanding of the problem, he is helping to pull hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines every month. Check out this amazing video of Captain Louis, in his own words.
"People don't have trash cans. They throw trash anywhere, and when it rains, it all ends up in the ocean," says Louis. "It was my vision to have a clean ocean and 4ocean came to clean up the ocean."
"We create trash and we are the ones who should take care of it," Louis adds.
The problem of ocean plastic pollution is a complicated one, but when we can go into a country, set up infrastructure, create jobs, restore a sense of pride in the community, give people hope, and help clean the ocean and coastlines at the same time, that feeling of accomplishment transcends the problem. And it is people like Captain Louis that make it happen every day!
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