(Eleuthera, Bahamas) – It is a fact that every year, large amounts of trash end up in our oceans. It is estimated that around eight million metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans from land each year. In efforts to alleviate global litter pollution, and spread awareness of this deleterious issue, the Ocean Conservancy created International Coastal Cleanup Day, on September 17th. Last year, more than 18 million pounds of trash was collected by nearly 800,000 volunteers worldwide.
This is the fourth year that Eleuthera has registered and participated in International Coastal Cleanup Day. The event brought out 182 student environmental activists from Preston H. Albury High School, Deep Creek Middle School, Harbour Island All Age School and The Island School.
The cleanup took place at Northside Beach, Rock Sound, where 1,080 pounds of litter were collected in less than a mile. Items such as syringes, fishing gear, straws, plastic food wrappers, plastic bottles and caps, foam take away containers, and plastic fragments were collected from the beach.
A majority of the items removed were plastic and represented the most serious threat to our pristine Bahamian environment. Nylon rope found was separated out and donated to Planet Love Life that upcycles marine debris to make jewelry. Students were engaged as citizen scientists and were required to record data on the type of litter they collected to be compiled into the Ocean Conservancy database.
With all the work there had to be some play; students enjoyed playing in the water and a friendly sand castle building competition.
The event was hosted by Space 2 Create, an island wide youth empowerment organization in conjunction with Bahamas Plastic Movement, a youth focused conservation movement centered on the issue of plastic pollution.