So, here we are! On this first day of 2017, in front of a dead sea turtle on the beach of Saint Martin’s Island. The volunteers I’m traveling with are here to learn more about nesting sea turtles on the Island. But unfortunately, beside the dead Sea turtles what they are witnessing is plastic and plastic everywhere on the island, littered on the beach, and floating in the sea.

I’ve just returned from snorkeling at the Bay of Bengal– more particularly from a patch of coral colonies off the western coast of this once happy island. The scenario is worse underwater, the corals are almost dead, littered with marine debris—plastic packages, food wrap, and fishing nets.

‘How should we put this? All our studies, surveys, underwater observations support that, the coral ecosystems is almost collapsed. Plastic trash left on the island by thousands of tourists daily is certainly one of the threats running the island.’

We know you love to travel to Saint Martin’s oftentimes. But the tiny island can’t carry thousands of tourists daily. The only hope that remains is to stop this destructive tourism for some years and let the corals regenerate, to revive.

Underwater photo of saint martin's island

So, if you care to protect the corals, please do not visit St. Martin’s Island for at least next 10 years. But if you must, please do at least this small favor—

Take part in #TrashMeNot challenge; take back your plastic trash with you.

If you use any plastic water or beverage bottles, straws, bags, food wraps etcetera during your stay on the island, keep them with you and while leaving, take them back to the mainland- that is Teknaf.

Take a selfie with the plastics you have brought back to Teknaf, share it on Facebook and other social media, make the post public and use #TrashMeNot hashtag to spread the word!



Remember, together we can protect our sea! If you want to contribute more in fighting marine debris, please join us at Save Our Sea


From Saint Martin’s with love
Mohammad Arju
January 1, 2017

The writer is a Director of Organization for Social Orientation and the Founder of Save Our Sea initiative. He can be reached at