This was echoed by Alistair Edwards, Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Environment, who joined a small team from the Department of Marine Resources to clean up Cockleshell Bay on Friday, October 19, 2018.
“I can tell you that we were rather much disappointed and surprised to see the quantity of plastics that we found on the beach. What I noted was that close to the boat lane at Reggae Beach there were a lot of single-use plastics, in particular cups and bottles,” said the permanent secretary. “So it tells us that people are being rather careless or letting down their guard especially when they are moving from one point to a next.”
He added that littering on beaches contributes negatively to marine life and calls on the general public to cease and desist.
“That does not augur well for our inshore fishery. We have a lot of small fish too, thriving well –snapper, welchman, thumb, doctors, and the inshore grass beds and little rocks provide enough resources for them to grow big. If we are going to stifle them with the plastics, I don’t think we will get enough fish in the near future,” Mr. Edwards stated. “What I want to note too is that we have quantified the type of garbage and the quality of garbage and we trust and hope that it [the amount] goes down.”
The permanent secretary added that with the amount of plastics found on the beaches it is important for the Department of Environment to step up its awareness and educational campaigns against plastics.
The National Coastal Cleanup is an initiative by the Department of Environment that seeks to sensitize the general public on the importance of keeping the coastal areas clean. Every year 30 students from all the secondary schools, as well as the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College and the Immaculate Conception Catholic School, journey to the beaches to contribute to the national effort.