The Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) will be hosting its 28th Annual Coastal Clean-up on Saturday, September 26, 2020. This island-wide volunteer activity will run from approximately 6:00 a.m. to noon at various locations along throughout the island. Volunteers from school, church and community groups will clean litter from shorelines and adjoining areas in an effort to reduce the amount of harmful debris entering the sea. The Nevis Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) partners with the NHCS in this annual initiative, promptly picking up the bags of trash from the various collection points around the island.
This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the event has been scaled down from previous years. All participating groups are restricted to 10 persons or less. Group captains will be required to orient their teams on the required Covid-19 health protocols which are being provided by the NHCS and must ensure that these are adhered to during the event. In addition, the picnic lunch for participants which traditionally follows the cleanup has been cancelled.
Despite these changes a number of community groups have registered so far with the NHCS. Others are encouraged to participate, including family groups. A group of young people from St. Kitts will be coming over to join the initiative.
The International Coastal Cleanup which began over 30 years ago is a worldwide movement coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy (OC), an environmental NGO based in Washington DC, USA. Participating countries register with the Ocean Conservancy which provides promotional materials, guidelines and data sheets. Each local group must be led by a “captain” who has the responsibility of recording numbers and types of items collected. This data is submitted to the OC which publishes profiles of each participating country in its annual report. Sadly the amount of trash collected annually increases inexorably with plastic waste being the major concern. In Nevis the amount of trash collected last year totalled approximately 10,405 items with plastic bottles topping the list.
This event is an opportunity for the NHCS to publicize its efforts to keep the environment clean but more importantly to raise awareness of the growing solid waste management challenges on Nevis particularly in relation to marine pollution. The NHCS is committed to raising public awareness of these issues and urges greater individual and collective responsibility as momentum gathers for the phasing out of single-use plastics in the Federation.