by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- World Wetlands Day celebrated on 2 February
- Schools assisted in a clean sweep of La Sagesse Beach
- 15 extra-large garbage bags of trash were collected
15 extra-large garbage bags of trash were collected on Friday, as schools mostly within the parish of St David assisted in a clean sweep of the La Sagesse Beach, in recognition of World Wetlands Day. Taking part in the cleanup were students from the St Dominic’s RC School, St Theresa RC, Constantine Methodist and Happy Hill Secondary School.
The sweep included a huge coordinated effort by the young volunteers led by officials from the Ministry of Forestry to collect trash along the sea coast and mangrove area. This year’s theme is ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future,’ and officials at the forestry division are concerned over the prevalence of littering in Grenada, which was quite evident after Friday clean up.
Forestry Department Education Officer, Damarlie Antoine said pollution in wetlands is a growing concern which has far-reaching implications for the environment. She spoke of the need to include and educate young children on the importance of keeping the environment clean for future generations. “I think that the kids have a part to play… some of the things they pick up they will recognise trash they may have contributed, things like bottles, sneakers, papers… and then you have agents like wind and water that carry those things down. So, students [for example] from St David’s Catholic Secondary… they may pollute areas higher up, but when the river brings it down, it ends up on the beach.”
Sharmar Celestine, a Grade-4 student at the St Theresa R C School, warned persons to refrain from polluting the environment. “We [are] cleaning up because we don’t want to get leptospirosis and we don’t want to get mosquito diseases like yellow fever, so I am asking people to stop throwing around all the garbage [that] makes the environment dirty, because we must keep it clean. So just take your garage and throw it in a bin.”
Aiona Welsh and Belinda Bell, students from the St David’s Catholic Secondary School, were extremely concerned with the amount of trash found near coastlines.
Welsh said, “We need to people to understand that their action has consequences. As you can see here we have collected a lot of trash but there is plenty more that we can’t get to. This [is] bad so I will encourage my peers to be considerate towards the environment and stop polluting it.”
Bell said there was plenty garbage including “…plastic, bottles, and nails; and children can be playing near the beach and get injured.”
The Forestry Department was ably assisted by Marine Protected Area Junior Rangers comprising students between the ages of 13 to 18, who were tasked with helping to tackle environmental issues plaguing our island. Shondell Cadore believes young people are making an impact in the fight against pollution. “I would like to encourage people from the surrounding areas of La Sagesse to be more mindful [of what] waste can do to the ocean and I hope that the level of the garbage will decrease.”
Every Year World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2 February marking the date of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
The Ramsar Convention is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention welcomed Grenada as its 162nd party, and the convention came into force for Grenada on 22 September 2012. According to the Ramsar site, Levera Wetland is its 2011th Wetland of International Importance.