Palau is famous for its pristine and unique marine environment and attracts divers from all over the world. Furthermore, Palauans depend on their marine environment for food, livelihoods, education and cultural practices. Climate change and especially higher ocean temperatures, ocean acidity and sea level rise are adversely impacting the coral reefs and the marine ecosystems. These negative impacts are further exacerbated by coastal and ocean pollution, some of which comes from the island itself, but even more originates from the surrounding land masses bordering the Pacific Ocean.
Palau, with the support of the GCCA+ SUPA project, is embarking on a long-term initiative to address coastal pollution and at the same time instil a sense of environmental stewardship amongst its youth and citizens.
The Ministry of Education has partnered with the Palau Conservation Society to scale-up an action-based education programme to address coastal pollution, especially the prevalence of plastic in the coastal environment. Over the past 12-months school principals and grade 7 & 9 teachers from more than 30 public and private schools in Palau have been consulted and trained. Measurement protocols, checklists and lesson plans have been prepared. Each school has a designated beach.