High turnout expected for International Coastal Cleanup Day on GB

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The Sustainable Tourism Committee, within the Ministry of Tourism, held a press conference on Thursday, September 15, 2022, at Xanadu Beach to announce its 37th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day, set for Saturday, September 17, 2022 at various beach locations throughout Grand Bahama. Seated at the table, Gail Woon, Founder of Earth Care displays one of the global reports from the Ocean Conservancy in Maryland. She pointed out that The Bahamas, Grand Bahama in particular, has contributed to the global report through data from the international coastal cleanup initiative. Also on hand for the press conference were representatives of various civic organizations who are expected to participate in the cleanup program. (BIS photo by Lisa Davis)

The 37th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day will take place Saturday, September 17, at various beaches throughout Grand Bahama, from Eight Mile Rock to Gold Rock beach at Lucayan National Park.

According to Anitha Robinson, Senior Executive/Sustainable Tourism, within the Ministry of Tourism, the difference between other beach cleanup projects and an international coastal cleanup is that the international cleanup collects data.

“So, as they collect the garbage, we will be collecting data, so that we can find out exactly what is the most common type of litter on our beaches,” Ms. Robinson pointed out. “With that data information, we will be able to identify the kind of litter that is thrown on our beaches and it will help us to make the adequate change.”

During a press conference by the Ministry of Tourism at Xanadu Beach on Thursday, September 15, 2022, representatives from various civic organizations, who are expected to be participating in Saturday’s Coastal Cleanup, encouraged all Grand Bahamians to be a part of the cleanup effort.

Ms. Robinson said that this year school students will be rejoining the cleanup campaign. “Last year, we didn’t have any students participate because of the Covid-19 mandate. Now that some of the restrictions have been relaxed, we want to have them come back and participate. The students really made this event. They were the ones who were most present; they were the ones who were the most excited about the project,” she added. “Because the students were unable to participate last year, the civic organizations on the island stepped up and helped us in a big way. They were just as excited as the students and so it allowed us to do an outstanding job last year. This year, we will have the students and the civic organizations assisting us, so, I think we will collect even more garbage this year than last year.”

Robinson said over 700 pounds of garbage was collected last year. The international coastal cleanup campaign will take place between the hours of 8 am to 10 am, simultaneously on several beaches around the island. Gail Woon, Founder of Earth Care said her organization was one of the first founding members of the Sustainable Tourism Committee. They have been participating in the international coastal cleanup since 1988. “International Coastal Cleanup Day has been coordinated by the Sustainable Tourism Committee and the Ministry of Tourism since that time,” said Ms. Woon. “We partner with the Ocean Conservancy by collecting data.

“Each group participating in the cleanup on Saturday will consist of three to four persons and one person will be responsible for recording or writing down every piece of item that is collected. All of that information is sent to the Ocean Conservancy in Maryland. They then produce a global report of all the marine debris collected during the International Coastal Cleanup Day worldwide.

“The Bahamas, Grand Bahama in particular, has been contributing to this data for over 30 years. We’re excited to be a part of this program and to be able to contribute to the Ocean Conservancy.”

Nakeria Edgecombe, of the Keep Grand Bahama Clean Committee, said her organization has been participating in the international coastal cleanup day for 14 years, and this year they will have representatives at various locations on Saturday, including Bootle Bay, West Grand Bahama and within the Freeport area.

“We’re asking others to come out and be a part of this initiative, even if you’re not a part of any particular group,” said Ms. Wilchcombe. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep Grand Bahama clean. So, come on out and lend a hand by joining the schools and the civic organizations.

Some of the organizations expected to participate in ‘International Coastal Cleanup Day’ will include the Bahamas National Trust, Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, the Pilot Club, the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama and several other corporatebusinesses.