Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama Coastal Cleanup involves community members of all ages
Sep 22, 2016 - 9:20:04 AM

EARTHCARE 3rd Underwater Cleanup volunteers with marine debris September 10th, 2016

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Early on Saturday morning two (2) weekends in a row, September 10th and 17th, community members met with a common cause in mind. They came by boat, they came by bus, they came by car, truck and foot. On September 10th, EARTHCARE volunteers performed an Underwater Cleanup of Taino Beach.

The following Saturday, Lucaya International School (LIS) and EARTHCARE Eco Kids cleaned Gold Rock Beach at the Lucayan National Park East, assisting the Zone Captain, Gail Woon (EARTHCARE) with the Gold Rock Beach International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC) 2016.

Gail Woon, EARTHCARE Founder and a Director of Save The Bays exclaimed, “Today, I am doubly proud. I am proud of the community volunteers who came out last Saturday, September 10th, to assist with our EARTHCARE 3rd Underwater Cleanup at Taino Beach and of the EARTHCARE Eco Kids and Lucaya International School volunteers who showed up this morning to the International Coastal Cleanup at Gold Rock Beach where I was the Zone Captain. At Taino Beach, Thirty-Eight (38) concerned citizens/volunteers cleaned a quarter mile or 400 meters of ocean bottom. The objective of that event was to clean the seafloor of trash/marine debris. EARTHCARE provided trash bags and cold light refreshments, gloves, and snorkel gear. Volunteers snorkeled, gathering the marine debris and it was bagged ashore. The event was open to the public and well attended. Over 150 lbs of marine debris was removed from Taino Beach. Equally impressive, the Lucaya International School volunteers with the EARTHCARE Eco Kids picked up another 160 lbs of marine debris from the shore line of Gold Rock Beach.”

2 year old Jack Lowery weighs in on international Coastal Cleanup Day 2016

“We each can make important decisions daily that effect the overall health of our oceans by the actions we take every day. Simple things like picking up trash on the beach, recycling and conserving water have a huge impact on the health of our oceans. I am elated with the results of both clean­ups. A huge thanks goes out to all that showed up to help and to the hard work of the Sustainable Tourism Committee, especially our leader, Jeff Pinder, Chairman of the Sustainable Tourism Committee, Ministry of Tourism” said Woon.

Ryan Carroll, a concerned Yacht Captain and former commercial fisherman, who initiated the idea of the Underwater Cleanups on Grand Bahama in 2013, said, “Our second cleanup in two years at the very popular Taino Beach was blessed with many helpers. It was a beautiful thing to see kids from the very young to the not so very young. Some pitched in as divers, collecting trash and others helped catalog and bag the collected trash ashore. Hopefully, the people that helped will pass on the knowledge to please keep our island, above and below the water, clean.”

Photos l to r: Gail Woon, EARTHCARE explaining the importance of removing marine debris from our oceans; Gail Woon explaining how to fill out the data cards to the students of Lucaya International School and the EARTHCARE Eco Kids

Daniel Shileny, CAS Coordinator for Lucaya International School, commented, "I was so proud of the IB students who attended this year's International Coastal Cleanup Day. This is my first year at LIS, and the students really showed me how much they care about their community and this island on Saturday."

One hundred and sixty (160) pounds of marine debris were collected, recorded and bagged for collection from the Taino Beach Zone. Cheri Wood was the Zone Captain, she sorted the debris and recorded the data that will be submitted to the Ocean Conservancy in the United States. The data from sites all over the world will be compiled into a Global Report. Unusual items noted were two (2) exterior car mirrors. Ms. Wood noted, “Thanks Gail for including my Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers and I in the cleanup. I hate to report that 76 glass beer bottles were pulled from the sea at Taino Beach. Most were in very good condition, so you know the assumption we have to make. It is hard to believe that on 76 occasions people chose to throw their bottles on the ground or in the sea versus a waste receptacle a few feet away - just unthinkable. Hoping some national pride will eventually reach the offenders and they stop this unacceptable behavior.”

A grand total of 150 pounds of marine debris was collected, recorded, weighed and bagged for collection from the Gold Rock Beach zone. Most of the marine debris found was debris from beverage bottles and caps, cigarette butts, rope, fishing line, fishing nets, plastic bags and shoes. Dikembe Johnson and Julia Roos, both of LIS, won EARTHCARE T shirts for being the most industrious male and female beach cleaners.

Dikembe Johnson and Julia Roos receive EARTHCARE shirts for being most Industrious Male and Female from Gail Woon

Students noted that debris items of local concern included plastic pieces, oil containers, Styrofoam food containers, plastic beverage bottles and caps. The students filled out the data cards which will be returned to The Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C. where the information will be compiled into a report of the state of marine debris throughout the entire globe. Grand Bahama Island has been participating with The Ocean Conservancy through the Ministry of Tourism for almost 30 years. Jeff Pinder and Elaine Smith and their team from the Ministry of Tourism are to be commended for their excellent coordination of this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day, September 17th 2016. The many hours of planning ahead all came together for a very successful day from West End to East End, Grand Bahama Island.

Gail Woon, Zone Captain for Gold Rock Beach was very happy with the results. “I am so very happy to see all of the students out here early on a Saturday morning. I must thank the teachers, parents and chaperones who without their help the students would not have been able to attend these events and especially Mr. Mike Lowery, Headmaster of Lucaya International School who not only attended with his two (2) year old son but participated with the students and of course, Daniel Shileny, CAS Coordinator, LIS. Together we are building a new generation of environmentally aware people. I have to give congratulations to Jeff Pinder and his wonderful team at the Ministry of Tourism for putting together another successful International Coastal Cleanup Day this year. Without their care and coordination these very important annual data collection days would not be possible.”

Volunteers who helped with the underwater clean­up effort at Taino Beach on September 10th included Cheri Wood, Ryan Carroll, Jackie Carroll, Havana Gibson, Savanna Gibson, Michele Russell, Faith Russell, Ana-­Alicia Carroll, Gail Woon, Kendal Davis, Tyrie Moss, Michael Marshall, Martine Wardill, Veronica Moran, Leigha Campbell, Addison Bethel, Fabian Laing, Razhena Arthur, Tyriq Forbes, Justin Dames, Ron Lewis, Kellon Albury, Jason Albury, Rickelle Albury, Letitia Parker, Philip Stoevesand, William Moss, Tracy Thompson, Kylie Thompson, Sanna Knowles, Lakiesa Saunders, Taye Fountain, Tafari Fountain, Jodie Fountain, Toro Mazzoni, Charnice Bain, Jill Cooper, Cheng Bee Selim, and Dereko Moxy.

Students participating from Lucaya International School on September 17th included: Grace Cafferata, Matthew Lowe, Stefano Rulli, Tom Paine, Nicolas Rulli, Jimmy Pierson, Emily Roos, Quincy Gordon, Arzah Laing, Julia Mellor, Alan Andrews, Philip Stoevesand, Lauren Ritchie, Nathan Torode, Merrick Lehman, Kristian Moree, Austin Long, Dikembe Johnson, and Gabby Lopez. Mr. Mike Lowery, theHeadmaster and Daniel Shileny, CAS Coordinator, LIS coordinated the group. EARTHCARE Eco Kids Team Leader, Tristan Rampersad of Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy and EARTHCARE Eco Kid, Tyler Riley of Sunland Baptist Academy assisted Ms. Woon.

Another Underwater Clean­up is planned for late October or early November (to be announced). Contact for details and information on how you can join the effort.

Click here for Facebook album

Lucayan International School and EARTHCARE volunteers after cleaning up Gold Rock Beach on ICC Day

Lucayan International Students hard at work during International Coastal Cleanup Day

Photos top left shows: Volunteer snorklers at EARTHCARE 3rd Underwater cleanup, Taino Beach; top right: Underwater view of the marine debris removal September 10th 2016; bottom left: The Gold Rock Beach International Coastal Cleanup begins with data recording and bottom right: Marine debris from Taino Beach EARTHCARE 3rd Underwater Cleanup, September 10th

LIS students Austin Long and Stefano Rulli weigh the marine debris collected as Jack Lowery looks on

© Copyright 2016 by -