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Protect the coastal habitats of Ecuador and the Galapagos archipelago

The Galapagos Islands are globally important for their exceptional marine biodiversity including rare and endangered birds, reptiles, fish and coastal organisms found nowhere else on earth.

Published 10th June 2021

Ecotourism and fisheries are the mainstay of the economy on this UNESCO World Heritage site. Tourist numbers (when not restricted by the current pandemic) exceed a quarter of a million each year, with a plastic footprint that threatens to dwarf that of the 27,000 local population.

Many of these endangered species are known to ingest plastic and suffer entanglement, whilst contamination of the food chain with microplastics has been recently demonstrated by Exeter researchers.

The mangrove forests of the Eastern Pacific – vitally important and distinct ecosystems – are also threatened by the impacts of plastic litter and Exeter researchers have been conducting some of the first surveys to determine what impacts this has on their function.

How your donations can help

  • £5,000 could fund specialised equipment for isolating microplastics from seawater or specially adapted underwater cameras for tracking submerged litter in situ in mangrove swamps
  • £10,000 could fund a field survey to trial novel visual tools for studying submerged litter in the highly susceptible mangrove swamps
  • £20,000 could support a Masters student to study the causes and consequences of plastic litter and its impacts on vulnerable mangrove habitats
  • £25,000 could fund a field survey to establish levels of contamination at selected sites and on vulnerable species within the Galapagos National Marine Reserve
  • £50,000 (£100,000 to fully fund) could part fund a PhD student to construct a baseline of littering hotspots and to determine the efficiency of interventions to reduce plastic waste and protect natural habitats
  • £300,000 could fund a comprehensive programme of research to reduce plastic littering and protect natural habitats and biodiversity by combining river clean-up technologies, circular economy approaches, ecotoxicology assessments and conservation efforts

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Protect and understand the UK’s natural habitats

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Advance the clean energy revolution

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