Jahdae Parris, Administrative and Logistic Officer, of the Barbados Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), dreams of the day when Barbados’ beaches would have “little or no” garbage.
It is a dream shared by CYEN members who promote and advocate for a wholesome environment so, consequently, they hate marine trash. Recognising that this dream can only come true with behavioural change among Barbadians, whom she pointed out are doing most of the dumping, Parris said she would like beach clean-ups to become a trend.
She said firsthand experience of picking up the trash left on beaches was more likely to make people care about how the seaside is treated and would lead them to empathise with those promoting the need for clean beaches.
“Then they are more likely to be pushed to saying, ‘I can make a difference’ and would not only be less prone to litter but will dissuade others from doing so,” the CYEN member said.
Her message to Barbados is: Be a catalyst for change.
Parris was commenting during the final stages of a clean-up exercise at the Old Pirates Cove Beach, Bay Street, St Michael where CIBC FirstCaribbean staff, their relatives and friends, including children, rid that beach of 16 large bags of garbage totalling 338.74 pounds, including plastic bottles, cups and plates, sharp pieces of glass, a huge quantity of glass beverage bottles, and a large sign.
She described the exercise as a success and thanked the 80 volunteers – 72 whom she termed citizen scientists and eight data collectors who weighed and totalled the large bags of trash.
CIBC FirstCaribbean was not only involved through their citizen scientists who collected and bagged the trash. The bank went further by donating $3 500 to boost the work of the Barbados Chapter of CYEN.
Managing Director for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Donna Wellington, who presented Parris with the funds via a giant CIBC FirstCaribbean Visa Debit Card – highlighting the bank’s move away from cheques and paper – was pleased with the turnout of staff members, their friends and relatives.
She said that such an exercise was in keeping with the bank’s fourth pillar of social responsibility, which dealt with the community and the environment and aims to make a difference in the lives of people.
The exercise had an impact on Samantha Suttle, who led one of the bank’s clean-up teams.
She was pleased so many volunteers turned up for civic duty that early in the morning and set about the task purposefully. However, she was very disappointed that beachgoers could be so uncaring for the environment and others to have left so many items behind – used diapers, broken umbrellas and some things one could not imagine would have been brought to the seaside far less discarded there.
CYEN identified three top items collected from the beach that were of concern: the 619 plastic beverage bottles, 466 pieces of microplastics, and 459 pieces of construction material. (PR)