Some of the garbage collected from the bay. (Photo by the Department of Youth Empowerment)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Approximately 100 people met last Saturday to clean up four beach bays in Sandy Point to make them more enjoyable for residents while enhancing the natural environment.

The Department of Youth Empowerment organized the event with the Volunteer Corps, community residents and workers from the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP). Officials from Parks and Beaches, the Ministry of Health, the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) and the Red Cross also contributed to the effort.

Pierre Liburd, Acting Director of the Department of Youth Empowerment, thanked the large number of volunteers who help enhance the areas at Pump Bay, Alley Bay, Cleverly Hill Bay and School Bay. The beaches were littered with plastic ware, bottles, household waste, discarded furniture and appliances.

“Largely we did a good bit of clean up,” Liburd said, noting that there were some smaller areas that were not accessible. In all, the group filled more than 100 bags of garbage from the four bays.

“It is disappointing, upsetting and frustrating that [some] people [are] so negligent and have so little value for the natural beauty, the natural environment and cleanliness of the place and just see it as a place to dump their trash,” Liburd stated, noting that mosquitoes, cockroaches, flies and rodents are typically found in filthy areas.

He warned that the rodents and insects grow and thrive in such conditions and can introduce illnesses into nearby communities.

“On top of all of that it is also poisoning the fish and the reef,” Liburd explained. “Sandy Point is a fishing community and we are poisoning ourselves.” Liburd said. “Fish that eat the garbage are often caught by local fishermen, sold to community residents, who then eat them.”

The government official implored St. Kitts and Nevis citizens and residents to dispose of garbage using proper methods and ensure that all surroundings are kept clean “I think we can do better and we need to start doing better,” he said.

The Department of Youth Empowerment has recently increased emphasis in environmental protection. Earlier this year, the department staged its 35th Annual Summer Residential Camp under the theme “Preserving Our Land of Beauty.” A number of activities encouraged preserving the environment.