SGU’s Brian Neff Spearheads 2007 International Coastal Cleanup

Organisers say this year’s cleanup was especially successful in terms of the number of beaches cleaned. Beaches were targeted primarily for their access to communities and need for cleanup. Mr. Neff, of SGU’s Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, stated, “Our objective was to maximize the benefit of the cleanup to residents. We want Grenadians and tourists alike to enjoy our beautiful beaches and hope that beachgoers will help keep these attractions clean by their example and advocacy”.

Mr. Neff highlighted the value of the project: “The Coastal Cleanup isn’t just about pollution cleanup, it’s also about pollution prevention. Data is collected on how much and what type of trash is collected from beaches. This data is then used by Ocean Conservancy to track the behavior, and in some cases policies, that cause the debris. For example, in recent years discarded clear-plastic water bottles have become alarmingly abundant on our beaches in Grenada, but reusable glass bottles used for locally-bottled beverages remain relatively uncommon. This suggests that the current system of reusing glass beverage bottles on the island is an effective tool to prevent trash on our beaches here in Grenada.”

Numerous volunteers responded to the call for assistance. Participants included the current Miss Grenada World, Ms. Vivian Burkhardt, the Grenada Dive Association, boy scouts, the Archibald Avenue SDA Pathfinders, St. George’s University’s Significant Others Organisation, and the University’s Public Health Student Association; as well as residents from the communities surrounding the cleanup sites, tourists and St. George’s University faculty, staff, and students.

Event organisers noted that there is a rich network of community and non-governmental organisations focused on community service in Grenada. They hope to draw on these resources to encourage even greater community participation in future projects. Beaches partially or completely cleared of debris include St. Andrew’s Bay near the Marquis Community, Hope Beach near Bacolet Island, Grand Mal Beach, Pandy Beach (Martin’s Bay) near the Belmont Community, Grand Anse Beach, BBC Beach at Morne Rouge Bay, and a small beach on Mt Hartman Bay. The underwater sculpture park dive site was also cleared of debris.

Mr. Neff continued, “While all of the beaches we cleared were fantastic, my favorite beach was Hope Beach. The local community clearly takes pride in this beach. Unfortunately, over time trash can drift onto the beach from the sea or be deposited by careless beach visitors. It was fantastic to help this community in their ongoing effort to keep their beach clean.” He concluded, “Involvement in this year’s cleanup was terrific. We quite literally ran out of beaches to clean in the St. George’s area. That is a very good problem to have.”

Information on this year’s cleanup is available at http://www.oceanconservancy.org. To find out how to participate in future cleanup events, please contact Mr. Neff at bneff@sgu.edu, at 457-0249, or through St. George’s University, Department of Public Health.

Published October 15, 2007, The SGU Gazette