San Juan, Apr 27 (EFE).- Puerto Ricans participated in activities earlier this weekend aimed at improving the environment, taking samples to gauge the quality of the island's water, cleaning up beaches to help sea turtles and planting native trees.
Volunteers took water samples on Saturday at beaches, lakes and rivers across Puerto Rico to raise awareness of the importance of protecting ecosystems.
The 5th Water Quality Monitoring Day in Puerto Rico , a project organized by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program, drew volunteers to nearly 150 monitoring locations around the island.
"The goal is to once again connect citizens with their bodies of water," the program said.
Three Department of Natural and Environmental Resources , or DRNA, marine unit boats took volunteers to the center of San Juan Bay to monitor the water quality.
San Juan Bay Estuary Program executive director Javier Laureano , Environmental Quality Board chair Laura Velez and other officials participated in Saturday's activities.
The estuary program, the Environmental Quality Board and other public and private non-profit organizations are working to raise awareness about the importance of protecting Puerto Rico's waters, especially San Juan Bay .
More than 85 percent of the food consumed by Puerto Ricans passes through the bay, which is an important waterway for both its environmental value and the role it plays in the island's trade.
About 80 percent of the materials imported by Puerto Rico enter via San Juan Bay , which also welcomes nearly 700 enormous cruise ships annually.
One of the biggest events on Saturday was the Nature Festival organized by the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust in an effort to expand the percentage of protected lands on the island from 8 percent today to 33 percent by 2033.
Thousands of people attended the festival, many of them heading home with one of the 4,500 native trees, of 18 varieties, given away to participants. EFE