Marine clean-up reveals tons of trash
More than three tons of trash have been found on Bermuda's shorelines by volunteers for Keep Bermuda Beautiful's annual Marine Clean-Up.
The 454 volunteers dispersed across 32 different locations and were asked to be ‘citizen scientists' for the day by logging each type of litter they found.
Fished out of Bermuda's waters or found on the coastline were 8,161 small fragments of plastic, 3,052 plastic bottle caps, 3,033 glass bottles, 1,493 plastic bottles and 327 plastic straws and stirrers.
“The Marine Clean-up that takes place every year is part of Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Clean-up event. There are approximately 100 countries that participate, and we are very proud that Bermuda is part of this global event,” said KBB executive director, Anne Hyde.
The data is sent to Ocean Conservancy, which is headquartered in Washington DC, and will be compiled for a 2013 Global Ocean Trash Index. Last year more than 500,000 volunteers in 97 countries picked up 10 million pounds of litter and marine debris.
“The most amazing find this year was a message in a bottle found in the mangroves along Pilchard's Bay off Wreck Road in Sandys. The bottle was launched in May 2008 by a girl named Judy who lives in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada,” said Ms Hyde.
“Bermuda is situated near the centre of the North Atlantic gyre which is a series of currents that circle up the coast of Florida, cross over top of Bermuda and then circle down past the coast of Africa. The strongest current in this gyre is the Gulf Stream which comes up from the Gulf of Mexico.”
Clearwater teacher Heather DeSilva added: “Bermuda certainly would make it into the Guinness Book of World Records if this bottle travelled down the St Lawrence River from Niagara Falls and ended up on the shores of Bermuda. It's more likely that Judy was on vacation in some place like Florida when she launched her message in a bottle.”
A variety of people volunteered including corporate groups, students, area residents, sports groups and divers, the majority of whom worked on September 21.
Teams in every parish helped to clean up beaches and shorelines.
“This year's Marine Clean-up event was kicked off by Amlin Bermuda who chose to do KBB's Marine Clean-up as one of their Volunteer Day projects on September 13. Their team cleaned up Somerset Long Bay. Next a team from Montpelier Re partnered with the P6 students from Francis Patton to clean-up Shelly Bay Beach on September 20. Francis Patton Primary has pledged to do periodic clean-ups at Shelly Bay as part of KBB's Adopt-A-Spot Programme and Montpelier Re staff helped the students fulfil their commitment. The students have been learning about caring for the environment in the classroom. When they participate in the hands-on activity of a litter clean-up, their understanding of the problem is enhanced.” said Ms Hyde.
In addition to Amlin and Montpelier Re, staff members from both Fairmont hotels, Butterfield & Vallis, Validus Re, Dolphin Quest and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bermuda all pitched in. Students from Francis Patton Primary, Heron Bay Primary, Saltus Grammar School, Warwick Academy, Clearwater Middle School, Sandys Secondary Middle School, Emirates Academy, CedarBridge and Bermuda College all took part, as well as junior sailors from the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and divers with Bermuda Ocean Explorers.
Area residents from various neighbourhoods took an active part in cleaning up shorelines in their neighbourhoods, including Wreck Road residents in Sandys parish, Landmark residents in Southampton, Grape Bay and Hungry Bay residents in Paget, Vickers Bay and Doe Bay residents in Devonshire, Captain Williams Bay residents in Smith's and Tucker's Town residents along Fairwinds Beach.
By conducting this once-a-year research, countries are able to identify the source locations and lobby for legislative changes to reduce ocean pollution. To see the full report from the 2012 clean-up, go to http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/international-coastal-cleanup/2012-ocean-trash-index.html