The President of the Republic and the Patron of the Seychelles Islands Foundation, Mr Danny Faure, hosted a ceremony this morning at State House to welcome back the Aldabra Clean-Up Project volunteers.
The President hosted a send-off ceremony at State House on 18 February for the 12 volunteers from Seychelles and Queen's College at the University of Oxford, who have successfully completed a 5-week expedition to the Aldabra Atoll where they helped raise awareness on marine plastics pollution and clear the island of man-made rubbish.
Addressing the group, the CEO of Seychelles Islands Foundation, Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley, said, "Although it may seem like a feat of futility as more marine debris washes ashore on to Aldabra as we speak, it's vital to know that we are all part of that change that is required to restore humanity's relationship with nature, to make sure that plastic and other pollutants stop entering our environment in the first place. I want to remind each of the volunteers that while they each had their own story, expectations, fears and hopes when they left on the 22nd of February, they were all united by one goal - to clean the most beautiful place in the world."
She added, "Despite the cuts, burns, headaches, pains in your muscles and days you did not want to get up again, you all became one team with the most empowering story: that change is possible. So to say thank you to this remarkable team is not enough, but please know that SIF has the deepest respect for your commitment and is indebted to you all."
All the volunteers were presented with a token of appreciation by the Head of State.
The ceremony also included testimonies of the expedition by the volunteers which detailed their experiences in the beautiful but harsh terrain of Aldabra. The final figure of the amount of waste removed by the volunteers will be confirmed shortly, and a documentary about the expedition is being developed.
Also present for the ceremony this morning was the Chairman of the Seychelles Island Foundation, Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Chief Executive Officer of the Islands Development Company (IDC), Mr Glenny Savy, and Principal Secretary of Environment, Mr Alain de Commarmond.