Let's Take Care of Our Beaches: AERIS and Allies Promote Conservation of Shells in Costa Rica - Expat Community

Let’s Take Care of Our Beaches: AERIS and Allies Promote Conservation of Shells in Costa Rica

Mar 22, 2024 | Costa Rica, News & Articles | 0 comments

By Redacción La República

During Holy Week

The interested manager of the Juan Santamaría Airport seeks to raise awareness about the importance of keeping marine organisms in their natural habitat.

In 2023, three tons of shells were removed from passengers passing through the country’s main airport terminal. Courtesy/La República

AERIS, as the interested manager of the Juan Santamaría International Airport (AIJS), launched an initiative to call for the avoidance of shell extraction from the country’s beaches, as this situation puts marine ecosystems at risk.

For this reason, AERIS, together with strategic allies, leads the campaign “Welcome to Costa Rica, Protect Nature,” aimed at raising awareness among tourists during the high season, which extends until April.

“We are proud to be the main gateway to Costa Rica, and we want to ensure that every traveler has a positive impact on the environment. At AERIS, we join our efforts in this awareness campaign, which aims to urge all tourists to contribute to the preservation of our beaches. Biodiversity conservation is not only essential for sustainable tourism but also for the well-being of local communities and ecological balance,” said Ricardo Hernández, General Manager of AERIS.

The campaign, driven by the interested manager, has the support of different companies that deliver the message to important tourist points. The participating organizations are: MarViva Foundation, the National Chamber of Tourism, the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels, the Rural and Community Tourism Chamber, the Costa Rican Association of Tourist Guides (Acoguitur), and the Association of Naturalist Guides of Bahía Drake (Aguinadra). Also, influencer Lily Cabezas participates, focusing on creating content about environmental issues.

During 2023, a total of three tons of shells (3,088 kilograms) were removed from passengers passing through the country’s main airport terminal.

“From AERIS, we are committed to constantly developing initiatives to preserve shells in their natural habitats. Therefore, we invite tourists visiting the beaches to leave these organisms where they belong to allow them to continue playing their important role in the marine ecosystem. While we call for responsible and sustainable enjoyment,” commented Adriana Bejarano, Head of Environment, Health, and Safety at AERIS.

In Costa Rica, the extraction of these and other natural resources is considered illegal wildlife trafficking. For this reason, the alliance aims to show tourists the damage that these practices cause to the environment.

Once this marine material is extracted, it is very difficult to return it to its ecosystem. Therefore, under a strict protocol established by the Wildlife Conservation Law Regulations, with the approval of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), AERIS’s environmental team is responsible for collecting the shells to later dispose of them on the ground, due to their high calcium levels. The protocol implementation is duly supervised, following environmental standards.


-Skeletons can be used by birds to build their nests.
-Some fish use them as hiding places or as part of their diet.
-Hermit crabs use snail shells as shelter and home.
-They stop seaweed when there is an excess of this organism.
-They control beach erosion.
-They form white beaches.
-When shells are destroyed over time, they become nutrients for other organisms or are incorporated into the sand.
-They provide calcium carbonate that helps maintain stable ecosystems, providing food for some animals and plants.
-They are a substrate for marine organisms such as sponges, algae, and aquatic plants.


Figures in kilograms
-January 245
-February 238.4
-March 414.2
-April 273.8
-May 188.2
-June 124.8
-July 275
-August 303
-September 177
-October 147
-November 129
-December 383


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