3 tonnes of rubbish
A little cleaner than expected but still disturbing in terms of the items found.
That was the consensus of site leaders and the new executive director of the Future Centre Trust in the wake of yesterday’s massive islandwide Clean Up Barbados campaign.
The early morning, all-out effort to rid the island’s beaches and certain inland areas of its illegally dumped items and litter netted over 7 000 pounds, or more than three tonnes, of garbage.
A section of Barclays Park beach in St Andrew accounted for 600 pounds, while 488 pounds of garbage were removed from the River Terminal, Bridgetown.
The figure is over 2 000 tonnes more than last year’s total but still less than the volunteers expected.
Cherice Gibson, the Future Centre Trust’s new executive director, was extremely pleased with the day’s activities which saw 22 groups taking part in the effort.
“I’m glad to see some beaches are not as dirty as we would have expected and some locations are not as terrible as expected,” she told the SUNDAY SUN.
She revealed, however, that a few trouble spots had been identified, including an area in The Belle, St Michael, and another at Foul Bay, St Philip, but the Trust would first have to acquire the heavy-duty equipment before tackling them.
Gibson further lamented that people were still willing to indiscriminately dump old appliances.
“Honestly, I am so amazed that people would put a fridge or a stove on a beach,” she said, referring to the fact that those appliances, along with a wrought iron chair, were found on Browne’s Beach, St Michael.
“We want to encourage people to do the right things and to use the channels we have when you have those larger items to dispose of,” she added.
Acting senior marine pollution officer with the Environmental Protection Department, Carlon Worrell, who was leading the clean-up of Morgan Lewis Beach in St Andrew, also reported that there appeared to be less litter there.
One hundred and twenty-five people from related Government departments and agencies, and a range of service groups, as well as St Andrew Parish Ambassadors Jalissa Marshall and Darren Gibson, took part in that clean-up.
The haul, as usual, consisted of offshore waste – ropes, lube bottles and marine items.
“What we realized, especially in the case of plastic bottles, is that most of the garbage washes down through the water courses and the gullies, and we haven’t really had a heavy rain in the last four weeks that would have impacted on the pollution we’ve seen today,” he said.
“But previously we had litter washing down through the water course. So it’s really important to remember that what happens inland will end up on the shore and in the sea.”
Meanwhile, members of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network made their annual trek to Long Beach in Christ Church.
A check with site leaders at areas around the island revealed that the majority of garbage consisted of plastic – mainly bottles and caps.
However, this year, two of the island’s East Coast locations yielded telling reminders of the activities that occur late at night on those beaches.
The team of volunteers from Structural Systems Ltd, who were cleaning the stretch of beach from Barclays Park to Cattlewash, came across a raft lying on the beach.
Made of plastic bottles, cleverly strapped together in a frame and then covered in tarpaulin, it took at least ten volunteers to lift it up the beach.
At Morgan Lewis Beach, one of the volunteers discovered a makeshift buoy/marker – four plastic bottles tied together in green netting, with a stick in the middle.
The day started with the launch of events at Batts Rock Beach where Gibson told the volunteers they were part of a global clean-up effort, now more than a decade old.
“Our aim is not only to clean up but to continue raising awareness about the occurrence of illegal dumping and littering and to highlight their impact on our physical and social environment,” she said.