International Clean-Up Wave on Grand Bahama Island

Grand Bahama Island – On Saturday, September 20th, 2014, over 200 environmentally-minded advocates, from non-profits to private companies across Grand Bahama, partnered with the Ministry of Tourism’s Sustainable Tourism Unit to assist in solving the ever-looming problem of coastal pollution through the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), one of the world’s largest volunteer efforts to help protect the ocean and wildlife. The ICC, which the Islands of The Bahamas have participated in over 25 years, is a key part of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash-Free Seas initiative, and focuses not only on collecting trash from the coastline, but recording what is collected to identify the source of the trash.

During last year’s ICC, volunteers from around the world collected more than 12 million pounds of trash. The impact and potential threats of trash in and around our oceans require serious attention. Trash in the water compromises the health of humans, wildlife and the livelihoods that depend on a healthy ocean; threatens tourism and recreation, and the critical dollars they add to our local economies; complicates shipping and transportation by causing navigation hazards; and generates steep bills for retrieval and removal.

In a country where tourism is THE #1 industry, the protection of our precious coastal environments is essential for economic sustainability of our destination. In the words of Betty Bethel, Director for the Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama, “Our environment is a precious resource and the number one product that drives guests to our shores annually. It is therefore imperative that we participate daily to keep Grand Bahama Island’s land and sea experience clean, green and pristine...because tourism is EVERYBODY’s business!”

At this year’s Grand Bahama ICC event, based on the information gathered to date, an estimated 2500 pounds of trash was collected. Participating beaches included: Barbary Beach, Fortune Beach, Silver Point Beach (east of Williamstown), Xanadu Beach, Lewis Yard Coast, Lover's Beach/Hepburn Town Coast, Bootle Bay Beach or West End Coast.

Event sponsors: Polymers International Ltd.; Freeport Oil Co. Ltd.; Grand Bahama Shipyard; B.W.A.; Halt Industries Ltd.; Caribbean Bottling Ltd. and the Ministry of Tourism provided volunteers with pencils, data sheets, gloves, garbage bags, water, and scales for weighing-in their loads. The Cleanup Wave will continue on Friday, September 26th with student volunteers from Grand Bahama Academy (Seventh Day Adventist School), along with tourism industry partners.

For more information on Coastal Awareness and the International Coastal Cleanup contact the Ocean Conservancy www.oceanconservancy.org

Media Contact: Brooke Sherman - bsherman@bahamas.com | (242) 350-8613