International Coastal Cleanup Day 2017

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Bermuda is lucky to have a dedicated team of volunteers who worked with EY Bermuda and Keep Bermuda Beautiful this year to clean up Bermuda’s coasts.

Warwick Academy students, teachers and parents participated at Elbow Beach along with other teams at locations all over the island on Saturday, September 16 to reduce the amount of trash polluting our coastlines and surrounding ocean.

Anne Hyde, KBB executive director said, “When Eryn Bhola contacted me about getting her classmates to form a Warwick Academy team I was excited to get more young people involved in this annual event. The plight of trash in the ocean is one problem that our next generation will have to solve, so getting students involved now in the hands-on activity of a coastal cleanup and to count and tally each piece of litter is a real eye-opener for them.

“These students will soon become our future problem-solvers who will grow up to engineer better, Earth-friendly plastics that are not made from fossil fuel that is toxic and non-biodegradable. They will become advocates for living more gently on our planet.”

“I was quite disgusted to find so many cigarettes and beer bottles on the beach. However, it felt really good to clean it up and make Elbow Beach safer and even more beautiful,” said Kylah Hall, 15, who participated with the school.

Kaleb Hamilton, 17, said: “I think it’s important for everyone to see how much trash is on the beach, because it encourages them to throw away their own trash and pick up anything they see.

“It was great to have so many students come to help and to be a part of a worldwide event.”

Warwick Academy Principal, Mr Dave Horan, was proud to see students participating, “The very strong turn out and outstanding organisation from our student leaders goes to show how these initiatives resonate with young adults — well done!” What can you do to help keep the oceans clean?

The International Coastal Cleanup is an annual event, so if you weren’t able to participate this year, try to find a team to join for next year, or even organise your own team.

But you don’t have to wait for the International Coastal Cleanup Day to make a difference. Currently, Ocean Conservancy is promoting its Skip the Straw initiative, as plastic straws are one of the top ten trash items found on coastal cleanup day.

If you can avoid using a straw, you could help to reduce the impact of the 400,000 straws found around the world in last year’s cleanup.

In addition, picking up trash you see on the beach or buying reusable water bottles and containers are small ways that you can support the trash-free seas initiative every day.

Why does ocean cleanliness matter?

As an island with 103km of coastline, the cleanliness of our oceans and coasts should be of high importance to us as residents of Bermuda. Not only are the coastlines of Bermuda one of the most beautiful parts of our home, but we depend on the oceans and coasts to live.

You may assume that all of our oxygen comes from trees and rainforests, but did you know that the majority of our oxygen is made by marine plants? Our health relies on these plants and one way to protect them is by decreasing pollution along coastlines and in the ocean.

If everyone knew how important ocean health was, would global volunteers have picked up over 18 million pounds of trash on last year’s International Coastal Cleanup day? The answer is no, but unfortunately not everyone knows how much we rely on coastal cleanliness and even more unfortunately, not everyone cares.

What is the International Coastal Cleanup? The International Coastal Cleanup day is an annual event organised by Ocean Conservancy to support its Trash-Free Seas initiative. This is the world’s largest volunteer event for cleaning up the coasts, with more than 12 million people taking part in cleanups all over the world since 1985.

What makes this cleanup unique is that volunteers record every piece of trash found and submit their results to Ocean Conservancy, who use these numbers to collect data on the state of our oceans.

Volunteers can participate in land cleanups, but many swimmers and divers also get involved by carrying out cleanups in the water.

Last year’s Coastal Cleanup results: In 2016, residents of Bermuda picked up 8,151lb of trash from Bermuda’s coasts and waters. What did they find?

  • Cigarette butts: 3,069

  • Glass bottles: 2,627

  • Plastic bottles: 1,368

  • Plastic bottle baps: 1,203

  • Food wrappers: 1,064

  • Grocery bags: 350

  • Straws: 349

  • Plastic bags: 325

  • Plastic lids: 304

  • Foam

  • Takeaway containers: 159

  • Saltus spruces up John Smith’s Bay

Students and their families along with staff turned out to clean up John Smith’s Bay on International Coastal Cleanup Day.

To join in last Saturday’s event Saltus students and their families along with staff turned out to clean up John Smith’s Bay.

In connection with KBB’s “Adopt-A-Spot” initiative, S4 teacher and year co-ordinator and Saltus alumna, Erika Powell, organises a Saltus cleanup at John Smith’s Bay twice during the academic year.

Last June at the Bermuda National Trust’s Awards Ceremony, Ms Powell was presented with a School Programme Certificate for Saltus for the clean ups at John Smith’s Bay.

Regarding the first Saltus cleanup for 2017-2018, Ms Powell reported: “113 people helped to make our KBB Cleanup successful and the students did a great job representing Saltus in our community.

“In total, we collected the equivalent of 27 bags of regular trash and 11 bags of recyclables plus a few bulky items found on the beach.

“I really appreciate your support and hope to see you at our next clean up!”

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Published Sep 21, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 21, 2017 at 8:09 am)

International Coastal Cleanup Day 2017

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