Saturday 25th September 2010: It's Saturday morning, hooray! Although this morning when the alarm went off at 6 am I didn't feel so positive as an alarm on a Saturday is a rare thing in our household. It's normally sleep catch up morning. Not so today as we had committed to joining in the Coastal Clean up Day in conjunction with Antigua Barbuda Sport Fishing Club to clean up Galleon Beach.
One friend asked me yesterday "Why chose a beach that is a private beach to clean". Well you know my first response "There are no private beaches in Antigua". Secondly at this time of year there are very few tourists on that particular beach and a lot of residents in English Harbour love it , especially on Sunday's when you see lots of groups of friends and families on the beach enjoying picnics. Thirdly, I kind of have a problem with anyone, including the hotels, having to pay ANYONE to clean up any beach,. Why is it that as grown ups we can't clean up after ourselves and take some responsibility. In the last week I have witnessed a number of grown ups littering. When I have asked them, "Why did you do that" the response is, the cleaner will pick it up!!
Not good enough. First of all before anyone drops litter, they should ask themselves are they so mean and lazy that they can't manage to put it in a garbage bag themselves. Secondly, just think of the money that is spent in the economy cleaning up after each other. Imagine if that money did not have to be spent. Like many of the unnecessary things in place that for some reason seem to need to be, in order to police 'society' all it does is add cost. So even if you don't care for the environment (although why you wouldn't it a scary thought in itself), think about the money that we as a country could save not having to clean up after each other. It's just another thing helping to keep prices high.
As for the environmental benefits, I am no environmentalist, but I am a bit of an economist at heart, and the connection between clean beaches, clean and healthy environment and increases in revenues is a connection even the less economically challenged can work out. Littered beaches mean a negative experience for our visitors and a decrease in likelihood of them choosing to visit our beautiful island nation again. And what about our own 'Staycation' experience! That much more wonderful in a clean enviroment.
Any back off my soap box, despite us having helped promote environmental issues over the last few years this is the first time Antiguanice.com has actively got involved in the clean up ourselves. It clashes with the Sport fishing tournament for which we are sponsors ( I know we bore you to death with it sometimes) and so have been unable to do both. This year it worked out well. Kudos to Martin Dudley, Eli Fuller, the EAG, Search Antigua and 365Antigua who all got involved in previous years and in fact I believe Martin and Eli were the people who first decided to support the initiative and really put it on the radar. Last year of course the Recycling Facility were involved, but sadly this year due to funding they look like they will not be in operation (funding definitely needed to help keep this going).
The Antigua Hotel and Tourist Association and the Ministry of Tourism this year have put their weight behind the initiative and as much as anything are really trying to ensure that we all understand the benefit to us as an island nation of caring for our biggest asset, the marine environment and the beaches. Without them, we have a lot less.
For our part we will endeavour to continue to raise awareness and beg people not to litter. As I was picking up debris and litter I was horrified at the amount of glass, bottle tops and bits of plastic I collected. So next time you go the beach, please leave only your foot prints at the end of the day.
A big thank you to Daydre, Mark, Matthew and Inga who came and cleaned the beach with us.