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Sustainable Coastal Revitalization Project

Transforming Sargassum and green waste into Resources

Description

 

In the coastal landscapes of Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Florida's East Coast, the recurring landings of Sargassum have wreaked havoc, and have posed a significant threat to the planet's biodiversity, ocean and water ressources, and extends its harmful reach to human health, local economy and climate change.

Decaying Sargassum has evolved into a severe environmental crisis, adversely affecting marine life and causing damage to coral reefs, seagrass, salt march and mangroves ecosystems. It obstructs nesting sites for sea turtles and seabirds, while also disrupting water and power supplies. Whether left on shores or amassed in landfills, it releases foul-smelling odours, resulting in skin irritations and respiratory difficulties due to the emission of harmful hydrogen sulfide gases. In addition, the anaerobic decay significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and plays a role in both contaminating soil and groundwater with heavy metal contents. These effects extend beyond the environment to economic repercussions, resulting in financial losses in fisheries, livelihoods, governmental resources, and hospitality sectors, including resorts, yacht clubs, and marinas.

Amidst these challenges, a transformative initiative is underway. The initial phase of the project aims to generate approximately 20 high-quality local jobs and convert around 20,000 metric tons of Sargassum and local green waste annually into biochar and compost. This comprehensive process includes collecting, processing, and sequestering carbon from Sargassum and green waste directly within coastal communities. The resulting product will be strategically utilized in UNESCO biosphere reserves, small-scale farming, and local plantations, enhancing soil quality and fostering agricultural sustainability.

In essence, this Coastal Revitalization Project is not just a waste management endeavor; it's a holistic approach to turning an environmental challenge into an opportunity for sustainable development. Through innovation, community involvement, and ecological awareness, the project sets a precedent for responsible coastal management, offering a beacon of hope for regions grappling with the persistent threat of Sargassum.

Sustainable Development Goals

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Zero hunger

We strive to ensure equal access to knowledge on sustainable food practices, providing essential technologies for self-sufficiency in food production. By equipping people with the necessary technologies and tools to grow their produce, we contribute to the larger goal of eliminating hunger while fostering economic resilience among coastal communities. In a nutshell, this enables these farmers, mostly women, to not only meet their needs but also generate additional income by selling their small-scale productions.

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Good health and well-being

The solution addresses health risks associated with decomposing sargassum which can cause respiratory, skin, and neurocognitive symptoms in both local residents and tourists. Toxic exposure typically happens during decomposition, approximately 48 hours after it washes ashore.

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Quality education

We aim to ensure equitable quality education, fostering lifelong learning opportunities for all. For instance, in Miches, Dominican Republic, we collaborated with Fundación Tropicalia, a non-profit organization implementing high-impact projects in agriculture, gender equality, education, environment, entrepreneurship, and microfinance. This partnership, which brings together more than 15 educational centers, along with our past teacher training program, has positively impacted the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of teachers.

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Gender equality

Our goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. In Miches, for example, we actively supported over a dozen women small-farmers, making a significant impact on their lives and families. The testimonials we've received speak volumes about the positive change our initiatives have brought to the community.

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Decent work and economic growth

We are dedicated to promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, fostering full and productive employment that guarantees decent work for all. Our approach involves empowering local individuals, providing them opportunities not only in the sargassum harvest but also in the transformative processes of the final products. To address the seasonal nature of sargassum, we offer full-time positions within our organization, ensuring ongoing employment for the local community.

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Grogenics specializes in processing sargassum and green waste to produce fertilizer, soil amendments, compost, and mulch. Our approach effectively mitigates toxic by-products such as arsenic and heavy metals, surpassing alternative uses for sargassum like animal feed, biofuel, bioplastics, biochemicals, or cosmetic seaweed extracts. Grogenics holds the potential to stimulate economic activities in bio-waste management and agriculture by establishing localized processing and distribution infrastructure.

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Reduced inequalities

Globally, women are twice as likely as men to report experiencing discrimination based on their sex. At Grogenics, we prioritize gender equality both within our team and in the individuals we hire from coastal communities. Ensuring equal representation in numbers and roles is a fundamental commitment, fostering a workplace and community environment that values and respects diversity.

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Climate action

In 2023, the Atlantic sargassum mass was estimated at 13 million tons, reaching as high as 20 million tons in some recordings. If left to decompose on shore or in landfills, sargassum releases a significant amount of potent greenhouse gases (GHGs). To support climate action, we employ responsible, ecological, and sustainable sargassum harvesting methods. Our sustainable transformative processes not only diminish the burden on landfills but also play a proactive role in reducing CO2 emissions. This aligns with our commitment to fostering a healthier planet.

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Life below water

Committed to preserving the planet's largest ecosystem, we actively contribute to ocean protection, marine biodiversity conservation, and the support of fisheries. Our proactive and ecological harvesting of sargassum at sea and in bays safeguards seagrass beds, mangroves, and coral reefs from rapid degradation due to insufficient sunlight penetration, and prevents fish and invertebrate mortalities. Simultaneously, we ensure fishermen have access to clean waters, sustaining both the environment and their livelihoods.

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Life on land

Our strength lies in protecting, restoring, and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. We specialize in the sustainable management of soils, combatting desertification, and actively working to halt and reverse land degradation, all while prioritizing efforts to stop biodiversity loss.

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