By John Denny
(Charlestown, Nevis) – “… and the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home,” said Admiral of the Sea Christopher Columbus.
For those who enjoy hopes and dreams of a better place to walk near the sea, an opportunity to help make it so is less than one month away.
This year’s annual International Coastal Cleanup is for Sept. 20 and will be the 18th year for the event on Nevis.
Spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy and organized locally by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, the event has historically taken great strides to cleaning up the beaches of Nevis.
Last year, 163 people on Nevis picked up 4,340 pounds of trash from less than nine miles of beach.
At the International Coastal Cleanup on St. Kitts, 388 people participated to pick 3,665 pounds of trash off 7.25 miles of beach.
The event is scheduled from 8 a.m. until noon with a picnic starting at 1 p.m.
Miriam Knorr is an NHCS volunteer and the coordinator for the event on Nevis. Everything that is picked up is documented into different categories and the number one category is recreational use debris: trash left on the beach, not trash that has washed up.
“We are doing this. People going to the beach and leaving their trash,” she said. “Behind every piece of litter is a face, so think before you throw.”
Volunteers can ask to be teamed up to a particular beach they want to work on. There are a number of ponds and ghauts they plan to clean also because after a hard rain, that trash ends up in the beaches as well, Ms. Knorr said.
“We have picked up over 4,000 pounds of trash per year for several years now and over the years we have picked up over 43,000 pounds,” she said. “Of course we couldn’t have done this without the help of solid Waste Management. They play a huge role by providing us with dumpsters and pick up marked bags we leave by the road.”
To volunteer, call or go by the Hamilton House Museum. Their number is 469. 5786 or call Ms. Knorr at 469. 9423.
This world wide event was started by one person in 1986. A woman walking along the beach of South Padre Island, Texas, was appalled at the amount of trash she saw and she felt compelled to do something about it. She organized a beach cleanup and in a mere two hours, 2,800 Texans picked up 124 tons of trash.
Today, a worldwide movement grew out of that single event with more than six million volunteers in 127 countries and all 55 U.S. states and territories over the last 23 years. On the third Saturday in September each year, the International Coastal Cleanup provides a direct and tangible way for individuals to make a difference for one of the largest problems the planet faces: trash in the ocean.
Last year, over 378,000 volunteers participated in cleanups around every major body of water across the globe, not only to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways, but also to identify the sources of debris found on land and underwater.
Marine trash kills more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year through ingestion and entanglement, according to the Ocean Conservancy. Last year, volunteers found 81 birds, 63 fish, 49 invertebrates, 30 mammals, 11 reptiles, and one amphibian entangled in debris such as plastic bags, fishing lines, fishing nets, six-pack holders, balloon and kite strings, glass bottles, and cans.
The top 10 debris items collected during the 2007 event include:
Plastic beverage bottles
Glass beverage bottles