The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is continuing its efforts to monitor and collect data to adequately address the issue of beach littering in Barbados.
Senior Pollution Officer (Ag) at the EPD, Carlon Worrell, said marine litter had become a notable problem on beaches across the island, and warned that it was not only unsightly, but also posed a danger to marine life and human health.
To address this issue, he said, Barbados was participating in the National Marine Litter Monitoring Programme, one of three pilot projects aimed at educating the public on the causes and effects of marine litter and developing a monitoring programme to provide information on the types and quantities of garbage found on beaches.
"The monitoring programme is intended to build on the Adopt-a-Beach programme administered by the NCC (National Conservation Commission), where interested groups or businesses can adopt beaches across the island and assist in their beautification and conservation.
"These groups will also assist in collecting information on the types and quantities of litter found on these beaches and provide this information to the EPD," Mr. Worrell said.
He explained that this information would provide data on the different types of litter found across Barbados; identify the main sources of marine litter; ways of reducing it; increase public knowledge of marine litter and its sources and effects on
us and our environment; and encourage the public to change the current trend of litter disposal.
Mr. Worrell said the information gathered from the National Marine Litter Monitoring programme would not only provide information for Barbados, but would also contribute to the global data collected by Ocean Conservancy as part of their International Coastal Clean up programme.
Bottle caps, rope, plastic bottles, and paper bags topped the list of items collected from the Morgan Lewis beach in St. Andrew this year during International Coastal Clean up Day.
In addition, other items such as syringes, diapers, wigs, parts of a boat, small gas cylinders, tooth brushes, furniture, pipe conduit and regular garbage were also found at the beach.
However, he noted that when the original sources of the litter were traced, it was usually found to be in-land. "It is the things that people did and used on the land that are making their way to the coast mainly through water channels and gullies," he said.
But, Mr. Worrell pointed out that people usually don’t believe that what they did on land affected the island’s coast. He used the example of bottle caps found at beaches, which he said usually washed down from people’s yards when they removed them as part of their recycling efforts.
"The aim of the [National Marine Litter] Monitoring programme is to collect the data and see how it could be used to address the problem," he said.
As a result, the Marine Monster of Morgan Island Colouring and Activity Book was launched this year to target primary school children and make them more aware of the effects of litter on beaches. The book engages users in word searches, colouring, an Escape Monster Maze and gives tips about what happens when garbage is dumped on beaches.