Members of the St. Croix Environmental Association members and community volunteers gathered Saturday under a hot sun at the beach at Southgate to participate in the kickoff of International Coast Weeks.
A similar gathering took place Saturday at Brewers Bay on St. Thomas, as volunteers helped clean that stretch of sand.
The international Coastal Clean up, now over 30 years old, is an initiative of The Ocean Conservancy.
According to Jen Valius, acting executive director and environmental education coordinator for SEA, has participated in this event since 1991. During this year’s clean up at Southgate, SEA provided trash bags, gloves, sheets to record and track the trash, and drinking water. A total of 27 adults and 12 children participated on St Croix. The most unusual items collected were a speaker box and a boat mast. The most numerous were plastic bottles at 185, glass bottles at 247, beverage cans at 170 and food wrappers at 203. Figures for the St. Thomas cleanup were not available Sunday night.
“UVI is the territorial coordinator of the international Coast Weeks Cleanup program and are the main contact with the Ocean conservancy (the global coordinator). UVI supplies us with the data cards and tallies all the data from the territory to submit to The Ocean Conservancy,” Valius said.
International figures will be available in the weeks to come by going to the Ocean Conservancy website.
According to the site, “More than one million volunteers heard our call and headed to their local beach, river or lake; rolled up their sleeves; and picked up trash – approximately 23 million pounds of it in just one day.”
At Southgate, volunteers, counted, bagged and loaded the trash onto pickup trucks for transport to the Peter’s Rest Convenience Center for disposal. People worked along the beach, along the road and into the bush to make the Southgate beach clean and ready for the SEA Snorkel Clinic that immediately followed the cleanup.