A first-ever large-scale cleanup of Seychelles' outer islands that are managed by the Islands Development Company (IDC) will take place from March 18-31.
Forty volunteers will clean eight IDC-managed islands - Astove, Alphonse, Farquar, Desroches, Poivre, Remire, Coetivy, and Platte - over 10 days.
In a meeting with the volunteers on Monday, IDC's chief executive, Glenny Savy, said, "We are looking forward to seeing how much waste the volunteers manage to collect and to hear of their experience on the islands."
IDC will be providing volunteers with the necessary equipment for the cleanup as well as food and accommodation for the duration of their stay.
"We are sure that volunteers are going to have fun, enjoy this unique opportunity to visit the islands, and do something good for the environment," he added.
Savy said that IDC always carries out monthly cleanups on most of the outer islands but saw it necessary to team up with local partners to collect marine debris on a large scale similarly to the Aldabra cleanup project.
Currently, a similar five-week cleanup is taking place on the remote Aldabra atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage site, by 12 volunteers from Seychelles and England. The volunteers are expected to remove 50 tonnes of plastics from Aldabra in clean-up project -- a collaboration between the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and the University of Oxford.
The aim of the cleanup on the IDC-managed outer islands is to remove and dispose of marine litter that has accumulated along the coastlines of those islands. IDC is collaborating with The Ocean Project Seychelles, a local non-profit organisation created to raise awareness on the dangers of plastic waste.
While cleaning the outer islands' coastlines will solve the immediate impact of litter on wildlife, it will not solve the on-going problem of marine plastic pollution. The Ocean Project Seychelles will lead the marine litter assessments on the islands to establish where the plastic pollution hotspots are, how much is arriving annually and how this varies between the inner islands and outer islands.
Once collected, sorted, and weighed, all waste collected will be taken to the base camp of each outer island and shipped back to Mahe, the main island of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean
Volunteers have been asked not to disrupt the natural environment and biodiversity on the islands.
The Ocean Project member Natasha Burian noted that volunteers "should not damage or move any corals or seashells, move any birds' eggs or disrupt any living creature's habitat," she explained.