2720.9lbs. That’s the whopping total weight of garbage collected at the Foreshore on Saturday 17th September 2022.
The cleanup and data gathering exercise at the Foreshore was led by the Ministry of Planning and Development’s Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD) in partnership with the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), with the support of numerous NGOs and community groups as part of International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) 2022 observations.
Of the 2720.9lbs of garbage catalogued and removed from the Foreshore over the weekend, plastics were the largest single identified category at 742.6lbs. Glass made up 270.6lbs, tyres 387.2lbs and 1320.5lbs were miscellaneous items. Some of the unusual items listed by volunteers were ‘high heels’, ‘vacuum cleaner’, ‘speaker’, ‘car parts’ (e.g shield, grill, carboot rubber, drive shaft), ‘weave’, ‘TV casing’, ‘toaster oven’ and ‘suitcase’.
Globally, 80% of coastline pollution comes from inland sources.
Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles-Robinson urged citizens to enjoy our beaches responsibly and walk with garbage bags to properly dispose of their trash when they plan trips, “It’s disheartening when you come and see the environment looking like this. I want to make a plea, and send a reminder that we can decide as a nation when we come to our beaches that they should be cleaned because it’s going to impact us all negatively.”
Beyond being an eyesore however, Minister Beckles-Robinson added that marine pollution threatens human health and marine wildlife like sea turtles, and also negatively affects our tourism product.
Minister Beckles-Robinson also committed to following up on the legislation necessary to deal with beverage containers and to find ways to invest in public education strategies geared towards behaviour change. She said, “We cannot continue collecting thousands of pounds of garbage from our shores as part of this coastal cleanup exercise every year and be comfortable with this. We must move from a cleaned society to a clean society.”
The ICC is an annual exercise by the NGO Ocean Conservancy and is the world’s largest volunteer effort to carry out beach cleanups and record data on garbage collected on coastlines all around the world. The Caribbean Network for Integrated Rural Development (CNIRD), is the national coordinator for International Coastal Cleanup in Trinidad and Tobago and is supported every year by the Planning Ministry.