Tijuana, México- A bi-national press conference in Playas De Tijuanas took place on Saturday, March 19th, at 11am, that marked the launch of Proyecto Fronterizo de Educacion Ambiental's (PFEA) "Restaurantes Amigos del Mar"; its own version of Surfrider Foundation's Ocean-Friendly Restaurants (OFR) campaign. Laurie Silvan, President, and Margarita Díaz, Director, will lead their new campaign. Proyecto Fronterizo is a long time partner of the San Diego Surfrider Foundation and the No Border Sewage Program's Committee. Surfrider representatives from the San Diego County Chapter, Roger Kube, and the newly formed Baja Chapter, Jose Sarinana, participated in the press conference.
The Restaurantes Amigos del Mar Campaign is very similar to Surfrider San Diego's Ocean-Friendly Restaurants Campaign, but with a few minor tweaks to work more efficiently in Playas de Tijuana. The main goal of both these campaigns is to work with local restaurants by creating self-regulated policies in an attempt to reduce disposable plastic waste at its source, and ultimately on our beaches and in our ocean. As stated by Roger Kube, one of the founders of Surfrider San Diego's OFR, "When creating the restaurant campaign, we looked for ways to reduce plastic waste at the source, and the restaurant community is among the biggest offenders of producing disposable plastic waste. Therefore, the goal was to provide an incentive for restaurants to enact self-regulated policies to reduce their waste." These policies, among others, include: removing the use of polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) food ware containers, only using reusable tableware for onsite dining, and following proper recycling practices. After implementing these plastic reducing policies, and more, restaurants gain several marketing incentives, and are certified as an Ocean Friendly Restaurant. They also join the fight to protect our ocean and beaches by reducing their use of additional plastic waste (i.e. plastic bags, straws, etc.).
For the past 25 years, Proyecto Fronterizo has been working in the Tijuana region, improving the environmental health of its aquatic systems, and encouraging beneficial behavior towards our oceans. Proyecto Fronterizo has created programs like Salvemos La Playa, which organizes beach clean-ups, and Rescata, which works with companies to properly recycle their ink cartridges. Proyecto Fronterizo worked in close tandem with Surfrider San Diego in order to create Restaurantes Amigos del Mar. In September 2015, Proyecto Fronterizo was awarded a grant worth approximately $70,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to initiate their campaign in an attempt to reach restaurants in Playas de Tijuana. Laurie Silvan, President of Proyecto Fronterizo, states, "The beach cleanup campaigns have served to raise awareness, and now it's time to go beyond picking up trash and move toward preventing the trash getting to the beach. It's exciting to be launching a program that transcends the border to benefit our shared heritage." As Laurie relays, single-use plastics are a borderless issue and we're stoked to be collaborating with PFEA on this campaign, demonstrating the importance to come together and collaborate.
Restaurants, on both sides of the border, through self-regulating ocean-friendly policies, will stop thousands of pounds of disposable plastic waste from reaching our beaches and ocean. However, these restaurants will need the support and recognition from the public, rewarding them for their ocean-friendly practices. We encourage you to dine at these restaurants to show your support.