Conservation Officer at the Department of Physical Planning in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Graeme Browne, was scheduled to supervise the underwater clean up at South Friars Bay.
Mr. Brown stated that a team of at least 10 certified divers, including him took on the task of removing debris from the reef in the mentioned area.
Browne also took the opportunity to thank Lieutenant Lyn Wilkin and the other staff of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force Coast Guard for assisting with the clean up as well as safety for divers. He further noted that several students of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant (CFB) College took part in the underwater clean up.
Ahead of the clean up, the Conservation Officer said had expected that the volunteers would essentially find similar garbage and debris in the water to what is found on the beaches. These he anticipated would include glass, broken bottles, plastic bags and plastic bottles. Mr. Browne explained that most of the garbage washes from the beaches and the ghauts into the sea but also includes debris dumped into the sea by persons on boats.
“I would like to encourage persons sailing the seas not to dispose their garbage in the water, bearing in mind that it can end up along any coastline.” Mr. Browne emphasized. “The reef along South Friars Bay, in particular, provides the best snorkelling in St. Kitts because it is a living reef. It is a nursery for lobsters and fish, and the first line of protection for the coast. When garbage gets trapped in it, not only is it unsightly but the reef is damaged and all the mentioned benefits are lost. It is important to enable the reef to do its natural job.”
Beaches around St. Kitts were also cleaned by high school students involved in geography and related subject areas, supervised by the Department of Physical Planning and Environment.
Last year volunteers in St. Kitts removed almost 2,000 pounds of trash which was sorted and the information relayed back to Ocean Conservancy. Reports and statistics compiled by this agency are useful to students and researchers.
Communications Officer of Physical Planning Derionne Edmeade revealed that the Conaree, Irish Town, Bay Road, Newtown, Keys and Cockleshell Beaches as well as North and South Friars Bay, North Frigate Bay, and Banana Bay also had trash removed.
Mr. Edmeade said that each year, prior to the National Beach Clean Up his department does an outreach activity with students in St. Kitts. He further outlined that this year over a two-week period which started Wednesday, 21st September all seven of the high schools on the island were visited by himself and Conservation Officer Andy Blanchette. They addressed groups of 30 students about the Beach Clean Up and care of the environment in general.