Neighbors and environmental leaders of the community Playuela in Aguadilla, alerted today, Thursday, about the excessive accumulation of garbage on the Peña Blanca beach after the relaxation of restrictions to combat the pandemic from COVID-19 .
The beach, also known as “Wishing Well”, is famous among surfers. But now that the surf is calm, it began to receive visits, which coincided with the reopening of natural areas and various economic sectors announced by the government.
“Municipalities do not have personnel (cleaning brigades), just like the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA). If people do not take the garbage, landfills will form on all the beaches, “warned the director of the Sea Grant Program of the University of Puerto Rico Ruperto Chaparro.  “The problem is that people have to learn and understand that it is no longer a matter of throwing garbage in a garbage can and leaving it on the beach because someone will come to pick it up. They have to take it away, “he stressed.
Chaparro said that, last December, the neighbors and environmental leaders of Playuela asked the Municipality of Aguadilla to install orientation signs in Peña Blanca and other beaches in the area. They also asked that the collection of waste be strengthened.
Until now, citizen requests have not been addressed since they remain before the attention of the Aguadillana Municipal Legislature.
“The petition is still pending as conditions continue to worsen. In Puerto Rico, unfortunately, there is no beach culture. Many people are going to the beaches without the awareness of not getting dirty, of taking the garbage and of not passing over the turtle nests. Education is required, but it is also necessary that the laws are enforced, “Chaparro said.
On June 9, El Nuevo Día reported that the DRNA beach maintenance brigade assigned to the metropolitan area has only one employee . This brigade is in charge of cleaning the Piñones beaches in Loíza. On that occasion, the secretary of the DRNA, Rafael Machargo, reported that he was taking steps before the Office of Management and Budget to achieve the hiring of more personnel.
Machargo also said that the DRNA has beach maintenance brigades in the Arecibo regions, which is in charge of cleaning the Poza and the Dock; Mayagüez, which has been assigned to Combate and Buyé; and Ponce, with jurisdiction over El Faro, Jauca and the Coamo River. These brigades visit the beaches between one and three times a week.