Monday, April 15, 2024

HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Still a long way to go


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OVER 13 TONNES of seaweed, two tonnes of garbage and just over 1 000 pounds of recyclable material.

But don’t let the figures fool you.

The Sargassum seaweed has not all been removed and the island is not miraculously cleaner, noted the executive director of the Future Centre Trust.

It was that attention had been shifted to the beaches to assist the National Conservation Commission (NCC) with fewer crews tackling inland areas, said Cherice Gibson.

Gibson gave the immediate post-clean up analysis on figures that would seem to suggest there were fewer illegal dumps on the island.

Nothing, she noted, could be further from the truth.

And she commended the crews who tackled the Oistins environs in Christ Church; Sailor and Whim Gullies in St Peter, as well as the bus terminals in Bridgetown.

“When we went to the Oistins boatyard, the team there had collected a huge amount of garbage which suggested that people were still just dropping their litter,” she said.

A similar situation was found in the River Bus Terminal and that in Cheapside where a large number of bags were left by the crews who spent the early morning there.

“The difference was also the fact that teams shifted attention to the seaweed, so you would see a difference in the figures,” Gibson explained.

“There is still so much more that we could have done. It’s not to say there isn’t still a lot of garbage but the teams tried to lend assistance to the NCC. So that was really what pulled the attention in two directions.”

On the other hand, Gibson admitted the 13.6 tonnes of Sargassum seaweed collected was a mere drop in the bucket.

The seaweed was picked up from beaches at Bath, Enterprise, Dover, Carlisle Bay, Long Beach, Worthing and Pebbles.

A half-filled bag of Sargassum tipped the scales at 50 to 60 pounds. a filled bag, said Gibson, could top off at 100 pounds.

One team, assigned an area of the East Coast, collected more than 50 bags of the seaweed.

And, Gibson noted, as the crews cleaned, more of the free-floating seaweed was in the water waiting to come in.

“We would have needed to send all the crews to one beach to really make a dent in the seaweed,” she said.

Gibson was one of those who took part in the clean-up of Long Beach in Christ Church, which she admitted was a mammoth task. It was good, she added, that crews from CYEN and the Coast Guard were also on hand.

Meanwhile, Gibson was extremely pleased with the number of people who registered for this year’s Clean-Up Barbados.

Almost 1 000 people had signed up. Gibson said it might be the largest registration numbers to date.

“The response was amazing. Teams were interested and where there was a fall-off in numbers, teams paired up.”

She praised business houses and community groups for their environmental awareness.“

The consciousness is there but the behaviour change is where we need to put the effort into.

“But there is always more than can be done and for persons to realise that it isn’t only about one day and it isn’t only about doing it and there being coverage and recognition. It is about taking care of where we live.”

Advocacy director with the Future Centre Trust, Kammie Holder, also lauded the effort of the various groups but wanted to see more men involved in the clean-ups.

Speaking in the wake of team having pulled old fridges, car tyres and assorted parts from the gully in the Whim, Holder called for a register of appliances which could be used to trace the owners of illegally dumped fridges and stoves.



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