On Thursday, November 26, 2020, an enthusiastic group of 35 people gathered in Fitz Hughes, a small fishing and agricultural village in the Northwest of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, equipped with gloves, garbage bags, rakes and wheelbarrows to conduct a beach clean up.
The diverse group led by the island’s Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture, Honourable Carlos James, included students from the Richmond Vale Academy, civil servants from various government ministries, employees from the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches, representatives from the Agency for Public Information and community volunteers.
The activity, organised as part of the island’s Tourism Month celebrations, was co-sponsored by the OECS Reduction in Marine Litter (ReMLit) project, which seeks to:
- enhance policy and legislation for effective reduction and management of waste;
- increase the awareness of issues relating to marine litter; and
- undertake concrete interventions that reduce and control litter in the marine environment.
ReMLit is a two-year project funded by the Norweigan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is being implemented by the OECS Commission from 2019 to 2022.
The primary objective of this beach cleanup was to raise awareness on the importance of environmental protection, especially proper solid waste management towards maintaining the integrity and attractiveness of the country’s tourism product.
The Minister for Tourism in his remarks to the media emphasised the importance of protecting and preserving the environment.
“We all have a role to play in ensuring that we have a sustainable environment in which we can function and flourish,” Minister James said.
At the end of the cleanup, 30 sacks, representing 2.6 cubic metres of plastic and other forms of litter were removed from the beach. Following the effort, Environmental Resource Analyst within the Sustainable Development Division, Nyasha Hamilton, urged citizens to take personal measures to reduce litter and to be mindful of garbage collection days to ensure proper waste disposal.
Future cleanup events, interventions and public awareness activities under the ReMLit project are planned for other communities throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and in other OECS member states.
About the ReMLit Project:
In support of actions being taken to address waste management in the OECS, there is an urgent need to update and strengthen the enabling environment and coordinating mechanism(s) for waste (including plastics, Styrofoam and other materials contributing to marine litter) management in OECS Member States. In November 2019, the OECS Commission, with support from the Government of Norway through the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commenced implementation of the Project, Building Resilience in the Eastern Caribbean through Reduction in Marine Litter (ReMLit) which seeks to contribute to building resilience in marine ecosystems through a reduction in marine litter in the Eastern Caribbean. As part of the ReMLit Project a number of interventions are being undertaken in the ReMLit participating countries.