The WASH Foundation and Las Vegas Sands Partner with the University of Saint Joseph Macao to Enhance Coastal Protection and Nature-Based Solutions to Reduce Plastic Pollution

The WASH Foundation, a global leader in water, sanitation, hygiene and sustainability, and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) have announced that the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in Macao has been awarded a 2022-2023 Drop by Drop Project grant to study the role of mangroves in reducing plastic pollution in coastal wetlands, marking the university’s third year of participation in the program.

The Drop by Drop Project is a collaboration between the The WASH Foundation and Sands to invest in innovative water stewardship projects with local water champions in the company’s regions of Macao and Singapore. Managed and operated by The WASH Foundation, the Drop by Drop Project was established in 2019 to support initiatives centered around water conservation and environmental sustainability through water and nature-based solutions.

The University of Saint Joseph’s Institute of Science and Environment provides a dynamic, engaging and international learning environment in Macao where students and researchers can actively contribute to scientific progress while developing as skilled professionals and responsible students,” said David Gonçalves, Dean of the Institute of Science and Environment (ISE) and Associate Professor at USJ.

As part of the 2022-2023 grant, USJ is focusing on coastal protection and nature-based solutions to reduce plastic pollution through entrapment by mangroves in Macao. Coordinated by ISE Professor Karen Tagulao, the project is investigating the role of local wetland ecosystems and the possible reduction of plastic pollution along Macao’s shoreline. USJ is using these results to educate and advocate for the protection of coastal wetlands through community engagement activities and mitigation strategies such as community clean-up programs, native wetland vegetation plantings and other active advocacy initiatives.

As part of the project’s activities in 2022, Sand ECO360 ambassadors and USJ volunteers teamed up for a Coastal Cleanup Day to collect and sort waste materials from beaches next to Avenida de Cinco de Outubro and Tam Kong Temple in Coloane. Most of the materials collected were plastics and polystyrene, which require 450-1000 years to degrade in a landfill.

USJ also held a microplastics workshop for citizen scientists, which was attended by Sands ECO360 ambassadors and local community members, and conducted a mobile exhibition that visited schools in Macao to educate thousands of students, families and community members on the role of mangroves and coastal ecosystems in mitigating the effects of coastal pollution.

“Access to safe water and sanitation is a human right, and the Drop by Drop Project seeks to expand these efforts in Macao,” Manohar Shenoy, executive director of The WASH Foundation, said. “USJ’s community engagement puts education into practice and encourages behavior change at the local level and national level.”

As a recipient of the 2021-2022 Drop by Drop Project grant, USJ previously investigated the role of local wetland ecosystems for capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, reducing water-related natural disasters and limiting shoreline erosion. The results showed the positive applications of wetland conservation on managing environmental degradation. The project integrated field studies, community-based surveys, and activities and awareness campaigns to protect Macao’s water systems.

“USJ’s work manifests our focus on protecting waterways and supporting biodiversity to ensure the health of our regions’ water ecosystems, which is why we have continued to invest in their efforts over the years,” Katarina Tesarova, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Sands, said. “As important, USJ’s ability to connect scientifically based research with community environmental conservation exemplifies the purpose of the Drop by Drop Project.”

For more information on The Drop by Drop Project, please visit: http://thewashfoundation.org/dropbydrop

About The WASH Foundation
The WASH Foundation, an evolution of Clean the World Foundation is an international development and global health nonprofit operating hygiene-focused emergency relief initiatives, and WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) education programs, targeting vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world. The WASH Foundation is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit sector of Clean the World’s social enterprise responsible for all soap and hygiene kit distribution both domestically and globally as part of many of its comprehensive WASH programs. The WASH Foundation engages volunteers, donors, and other outcome-focused organizations around the world to provide hygiene supplies and education curriculum to support its global health programs. Since 2009, The WASHFoundation has served over 20 million individuals through its global WASH programs. A copy of the official registration and financial information for The WASH  Foundation may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by visiting https://www.fdacs.gov/ConsumerServices. For more information, visit us online: https://www.thewashfoundation.org.

About Sands (NYSE: LVS)
Sands is the world’s preeminent developer and operator of world-class integrated resorts. The company’s iconic properties drive valuable leisure and business tourism and deliver significant economic benefits, sustained job creation, financial opportunities for local businesses and community investment to help make its host regions ideal places to live, work and visit.

Sands’ portfolio of properties includes Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and The Venetian MacaoThe Plaza and Four Seasons Hotel MacaoThe Londoner MacaoThe Parisian Macao and Sands Macao in Macao SAR, China, through majority ownership in Sands China Ltd.

Sands is dedicated to being a leader in corporate responsibility, anchored by the core tenets of serving people, planet and communities. The company’s ESG leadership has led to inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for World and North America. To learn more, visit www.sands.com.

About University of Saint Joseph
The University of Saint Joseph is a multicultural Catholic University of Macao, China. Founded in 1996 and modeled after top universities in Europe, the University is now a hub for international collaboration and ranks top-50 in the world for Quality Education (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021). Students at the University of Saint Joseph, across degree programs, are trained in ethical leadership, environmental stewardship, and creative problem-solving. Through the University’s Institute of Science and Environment, local ecosystems are studied in a global context leading to research, public education, policy consultation, and cross-disciplinary partnerships that contribute to the sustainable development of Macao and the surrounding region.

Patricia Linde
The WASH Foundation

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