More than 40 persons participated in the activity held on Saturday, November 23, 2019. Most of the persons 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.
Reef guardian Alanni Polonko noted that 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.
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,” she stated.
At the age of 14 years, Isaiah Collins was the youngest reef guardian, who participated in the event. He indicated that 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.
Mr. Collins commended the turnout on Saturday stating, “it makes me feel like more and more persons care about the oceans.”
Tecoya Warner is not a member of the Volunteer Corps or a reef guardian but felt compelled to join the cleanup crew after hearing about the activity. She noted that 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 runs from November 01 to 30, in St. Kitts, although a few activities will spill over to December. The theme for Youth Month is Empowering our Youth to Follow Their Dreams – Youth Month 2019.