“It was awe-inspiring to see our students and service organizations come together for a common good and having fun”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Nearly 100 young Bahamians joined Blue Lagoon Island’s Project B.E.A.C.H. to pick up trash last weekend during the Ocean Conservancy’s 35th annual International Coastal Cleanup.
This year, the New Providence team headed into Coral Harbour to pick up the garbage left behind and dumped alongside canals on vacant property used by the community for recreation.
Several local community service and student enrichment programs pitched in to help with the initiative, including the Governor General’s Youth Award, Boy’s Brigade, Rotary Club South East, Rotaract Club South East Centennial, Rotaract University of Bahamas and Visionaries Toastmasters.
Some of the garbage collected was believed to have been unintentionally left behind by people who recreate in the area, whilst most of it is believed to have been transported to and deliberately dumped there.
An overwhelming amount of construction material had been discarded at this site, much to the surprise of some volunteers who stumbled upon construction debris whilst cleaning up the mess.
“Just spending an hour out here, the boys could not believe the amount of garbage they found in the back here. They were asking who we think dumped it and we said it could only be adults,” a spokesperson said.
There was such a large amount of construction debris that volunteers had to resort to using wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes instead of using their hands to pick up the trash.
“One of the offenders must own a construction company, as we’ve been here from the start and all we are picking up is construction material,” said Lieutenant Valerie Butler, national secretary of the Boy’s Brigade.
“So far we have already dumped about 30 bags of it and we still have more to pick up.”
A volunteer from the Boy’s Brigade, Shane Oliver, lamented the large amount of construction debris as well.
He said: “It’s destroying the water and our country is built on tourism and if the water is dirty, the tourists won’t want to come. So, this kind of behavior is actually destroying our economy.”
Irwinique Storr, president of toastmasters club 754AAA1, was disturbed by the amount of trash people dumped in a residential area.
“I say to the folks doing this dumping — if I were to come from my area and dump my garbage in their yard, they would be highly offended,” he said.
“This is an area that the surrounding community uses for recreation and it shouldn’t be treated this way.”
Despite the disappointing amount of trash discovered at the site, Blue Lagoon Island Education Supervisor Te-Shalla Clarke reflected positively on the event, noting the importance of the volunteers having fun whilst participating in environmental conservation and preservation.
“It was awe-inspiring to see our students and service organizations come together for a common good and having fun,” Clarke said.
“The teaching of conservation and preservation to bring about change is a slow and sometimes disappointing process, however, when the change starts to happen — and trust me, it will — all of the disappointments become well worth it.”
Information regarding the debris collected was recorded and submitted to the Ocean Conservancy for a global tally and database.
Amid a COVID-19 surge still facing the country, Bahamas Wholesale Agencies donated personal hand sanitizers to event participants.