Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘Pay kids’ 20 cents a bottle

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The key to removing plastic bottles from the beach lies with getting young people involved in clean-ups, says one businessman. And he is willing to put his money where his idea is.

Steve Ross, president of Enterra Trading, had just spent two hours in the gruelling morning sun, removing bags of plastic bottles and marine debris from the Sargassum-filled beach on the Ermy Bourne Highway in St Andrew on Saturday.

He was part of a group of about ten people who had responded to a call from clean-up coordinator, Lucy Agace, to rid the beach of its plastic waste.

Ross said young people could be offered 20 cents per bottle and at the end of a beach clean-up, could go home with at least $25.

As he hauled two large bags of garbage up the miles-long stretch, he told the DAILY NATION the money would act as an incentive and the marine environment would be rid of non-biodegradable poisonous plastics.

“I would pay kids to come out and give them 20 cents a bottle to clean the beach.

“You always have to give a kid an allowance . . . so he’ll rake the yard for $2. So companies like mine need to go ahead and, say, put up a few hundred dollars on a Saturday morning and let’s get the kids out here and donate that money to a good cause. That is what we need to do,” he stressed.

He said the idea could have a “significant impact” on the beach environment.

Young people with a sense of community mindedness would get a chance to volunteer and clean the environment, as well as earn money at the same time, Ross noted.

He said the idea could be given momentum by a social media blast and advertisements in the newspaper.

“Just as we have done here – that there is a beach clean-up on this day – come, get a bag and get paid 20 cents a bottle, and let’s get the youngster involved because that is where it starts in terms of being conscious of how they are throwing things and what they are using,” he explained.

His idea got the thumbs up from fellow clean-up volunteer, Jacques Grenier, who said a similar scheme cleaned up his former neighbourhood in Canada.

“When I was a kid, people used to throw away beer bottles out of cars, even through the windows, and then we used to make money with that as kid, picking up the stuff and selling the stuff to get candy and whatever.”

He said the clean future of the planet was in the hands of the youth.

“You will see a difference in ten years if you involve the kids. They are the future,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Ross is urging Barbadians to choose environmentally-friendly products and to stay away from Styrofoam, plastic bottles and straws. (HLE)

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