Hello everyone, my name is Faye Davies. As part of the individual volunteering section of the eco-education program, I decided to create my own volunteering opportunity. To achieve this, I reached out to a local business owner and community project organiser to set up a “Lake Clean Up” project in San Lucas Tolimán.
Using the kayaks available to guests at Hotel Toliman, I went out in a kayak each day and spent time on the lake. My goal was to fill a bin bag with plastic and other rubbish items found in the San Lucas area of the lake. The aim of this project was to help improve the quality of the lake, the marine environment, and eco-tourism in the region. The effects of plastic pollution on marine life and the environment are vast and varied, from the visual effects of plastic floating in the lake to the impact on local people and tourists. Once the plastic begins to break down, marine life is more prone to ingest it, allowing the particles to enter the food chain and eventually affecting humans as well. Small-scale fisheries provide important income for families living in San Lucas, so ensuring the health of the lake and marine life is not only important for the environment but also for the people.
The project aims to invite hotel guests to participate by filling a bag of rubbish and receiving a free drink at the bar in return. Additionally, this project could potentially become a volunteering opportunity for other cohorts in the future. By keeping the project running, it will have a greater impact on the community and hopefully bring more tourists to the area, supporting the local economy of this impoverished region of Lake Atitlan.