Volunteers at Friars Bay Cleanup. All photos courtesy the Department of Youth Empowerment.

Volunteers joined staff from the Departments of Youth Empowerment and Marine Resources to take part in the second and final Youth Month beach cleanup activity along the shoreline and seabed between Ship Wreck Beach Bar and Grill and Carambola Beach Club at Friars Bay, St. Kitts Saturday.

More than 40 participated in the activity. Most were reef guardians — members of the Volunteer Corps, who were trained by the Department of Marine Resources to protect the narrows, which describes the closest point between St. Kitts and Nevis.

“When we go to the beach, we look on the shore and the beach looks clean but when you go out in the sea and you look in the seagrass bed all of the garbage is collected there and the fishes consume it, and it hurts the coral reefs, so it is important we pick up that garbage and the garbage on land,” said Reef guardian Alanni Polonko, noting the “in water, and on land cleanup” was quite significant given that much of the trash that is not properly disposed of on the land, eventually finds its way into the sea.

14-year-old Isaiah Collins, the youngest reef guardian who participated, said he joined the group in order to help protect marine life and is concerned about plastic pollution — a growing problem in countries around the world.He said Saturday’s turnout “makes me feel like more and more persons care about the oceans.”

Tecoya Warner said she felt compelled to join the cleanup crew after hearing about the activity. Neither a member of the Volunteer Corps or a reef guardian, she noted the day’s event has implications for the growth of the country’s primary industry — tourism and encouraged other young people to take part in the next activity.

“It was a really good initiative,” she said. “I think it should happen a lot more often [and] I think a lot more people, especially youth should come out because they really need to be sensitized about what’s happening in the [sea] water.”

The first cleanup activity was held at Cockleshell Beach at the Southeast Peninsula

Youth Month in St. Kitts — theme “Empowering our Youth to Follow Their Dreams – Youth Month 2019” — runs from Nov. 1-30, in St. Kitts, with a few activities continuing into December.