Barbadians woke up to a cleaner island today after dozens of people removed hundreds of pounds of garbage yesterday during observance of International Coastal Clean-up Day and Clean Up Barbados.
From Chandler’s Bay in St Lucy and Morgan Lewis Beach in St Andrew, to Long Beach in Christ Church, with a gully and a recreation centre thrown in for good measure, civic minded adults and children and the muscle of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) braved the hot sun and joined the Future Centre Trust and the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) in tackling litter and garbage.
As participants gathered at about 40 spots, executive director of the Trust, Cherice Gibson, told members from SBI Distribution, the Jamaican Association of Barbados, the Brownie Pack and Cub Scouts from the Arthur Smith Primary School, and students from The Lester Vaughan Secondary School – who were cleaning the Brandons/Brighton Beach area – that their participation and that of the other volunteers sent a message that they cared about their environment.
“Given that our Caribbean territories are being faced with the issue of climate change and environmental degradation, efforts like this can seem, at times, a bit small,” Gibson noted.
“But I would to encourage you that it does not matter how much or how little you collect – the point is, you’re making a point and the message is getting out. Five hundred people . . . say we do care and we do matter.”
By the end of the day, volunteers had removed the wooden and fiberglass remnants of fishing boats; fishing line and nets; large, rusty cans, mattresses, soiled diapers, assorted children’s toys, as well as the ever-present plastic cups, bottles and caps and styrofoam containers.
Brownie guider Lana Welch, who brought four Brownies and five Cub Scouts from Arthur Smith Primary, said the children were using the exercise to work for their environment badge.
“We are teaching them the reasons for keeping Barbados clean,” she explained, adding that the Brownies and Scouts were very enthusiastic about participating.
Waynelle Collymore-Taylor, of CYEN, who was at Long Beach, Christ Church, said the effort of 27 BDF recruits, led by Corporal Shane Mayers, was a welcome addition to the team, since they found themselves dealing with heavy boards and nets.
“We found fishing material – a huge length of net that the BDF was able to help us drag – and we had piles of wood and glass,” Collymore-Taylor said.
She estimated the preliminary weight of the garbage removed from Long Beach to be over 500 pounds, made up mostly of the debris associated with the fishing industry.
“Most of the stuff washes from offshore,” she added. “Most of it is fishing gear and materials from other areas that washed up on the shore. Most of the material might not even be from Barbados.”
Collymore-Taylor said CYEN had organized the clean-up of eight other beaches with a total of about 400 volunteers.
Reports from Six Men’s Beach, St Peter, revealed that volunteers had filled a skip, in a few hours, with the illegally dumped garbage they had found.
At Consett Bay, in St John, volunteers had to deal with several large, rusty cans.