September 27, 2011
Grenadine community comes together to clean up the beaches and coastlines

The beaches and coastlines across the Grenadines received a good cleaning recently, when the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) was put into action and closed with a Green Walk in Union Island.{{more}}

The Sustainable Grenadines Inc. (Susgren), based on Union Island and headed by Martin Barriteau, has been coordinating the clean-up activities for Bequia, Canouan, Union Island, Mayreau, Petite Martinique and Carriacou since 2006. The well coordinated event kicked off on Friday last, when various environmental groups, schools, police, water taxis, youth groups, and other public and private agencies collected garbage of all sorts in huge plastic bags.

The entire garbage collection process is well documented; each group is equipped with garbage bags, gloves, water and a data collection sheet. Items are picked up and sorted by type, eg. plastic bottles, tin cans, plastic bags; items are counted and the information is then inserted on the data sheet, which is eventually sent to Ocean Conservancy. A quick review of garbage collected in 2010 showed that plastic bottles ranked the highest (1,695), with glass bottles second highest (986), plastic bags (894), and beverage cans at (747).

Barriteau told SEARCHLIGHT that the clean up was very successful this year; however, the greatest challenge faced was that of obtaining sponsorship to buy clean up gears. “We were unable to obtain sponsorship from the usual sponsors; we, however, got some funding from an existing GCFI project.” He further stated that while the clean-up activity physically cleans the environment, the bigger picture is to bring awareness and action to the issue of improperly disposed garbage. “We want to help change the mindset, especially for the youths, hence the reason we have all the schools involved.”

The ICC ended on Monday, with a Green Walk down Clifton Hill, Union Island. The walk, which was symbolic of utilizing eco-friendly solutions in everyday activities, brought together the primary schools, the Union Island Environmental Attackers, CWSA, Susgren and other persons from the society. Clad in green, the environmental soldiers were marching and singing “Leave the Forest alone.” Just some of the many placards read: keep the environment clean and green; trees bring rain, don’t cut them down; leave the forest alone; keep Union Island green and healthy. ICC certificates were then issued during a short ceremony following the walk.

The ICC which was founded by an international organization, Ocean Conservancy is celebrated on September 17 each year by countries across the world.(SG)