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Raft Up organiser promises underwater cleanup

The organiser of the Shelly Bay Raft Up at the weekend has said he will look at better trash disposal and a clean-up team for water-based parties for future events.

Jason Sukdeo, who organised several events over the National Heroes Weekend, was speaking after an online video of a snorkeller who collected three trash bags of bottles and plastic cups from the sea bed at the popular family beach the day after Saturday's event.

Natalie Dyrli said the beach and park areas were “immaculate” but when entered the water the seabed was carpeted in trash.

Ms Dyrli said: “The land was in very good condition — you wouldn't have known there was a party there.

“But in the water there were lots and lots of bottles, especially WKD bottles.

“There were quite a few plastic cups and plastic is really bad for the environment. I found a pair of shoes, sunglasses … I had three full mesh bags that are about the size of a trash bag.

“I dumped the first bag and then I went home and got my GoPro to go back.

“I just want to keep Bermuda beautiful and maybe we can use this as a learning experience.

Ms Dyrli added: “I am all for events like this — I think it was great to see everybody coming together and having a good time.

“And I think it's great that the organisers are looking at ways to make it better in future.

“I think if we can use this as a learning experience and if we work together we can avoid something like this in the future to keep Bermuda beautiful.”

Large amounts of trash cause similar problems at events such as the Non Mariners Race in Mangrove Bay and popular party spots like Paradise Lakes in the Great Sound.

Mr Sukdeo said he had seen the video and it had inspired him to look at ways to solve the problem.

He said: “Next year I am going to look into it. I was thinking of something like floating trash cans or something and see if I can bring a few in, or maybe an anchored garbage can in the water where people can dump their trash.

“It is difficult to avoid — you know some people are going to do it. Either that or we could set up a whole swim team the next day to go and pick it all up.”

Anne Hyde, of the Green Bermuda Cooperative, set up to create responsible plans for events, said everyone had a responsibility to clean up after themselves — although organisers had a part to play. Ms Hyde added: “No one should be dropping trash just because someone is coming along after an event to clean up.

“After that, or in addition to that, the event organiser also takes responsibility to leave the event venue as clean or cleaner than it was before.”

She explained that a clean-up is generally included in contracts between event organisers and the venue they use.

Ms Hyde said: “Outdoor space is gaining such popularity as the perfect venue for an increasing number of fun events — beach parties, street parades, concerts, raft-ups.

“But the impact can be minimised with careful sustainable planning. The goal is to engage everyone in the message to ‘green the event and don't trash the place'.

“The responsibility will be with everyone at all layers from sponsors who back the event, hosts who organise the event, venue managers, all the subcontractors, party planners, food vendors, entertainment groups, spectators and participants. Everybody has a role to play.”

Kim Smith, executive director for environmental group BEST, added: “Bermuda has an amazingly beautiful natural environment which will rapidly deteriorate if we fail to accept our role as good environmental caretakers and simply pick up after ourselves.

To view the film by Ms Dyrli, visit: https://vimeo.com/275565042

Learning experience: Natalie Dyrli with one of three trash bags full of bottles and plastic cups following the Shelly Bay Raft Up on Saturday

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Published June 20, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated June 20, 2018 at 8:34 am)

Raft Up organiser promises underwater cleanup

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