BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, August 18, 2020 (S.T.E.P.) — Persons turned out in their numbers on Saturday August 15 to take part in the first Community Clean Up campaign held under the theme ‘Keeping Covid out by cleaning up’, and Director in the Department of Environment Ms June Hughes says the exercise provided stimulus for communities in cleaning their sites.
“I was extremely encouraged by the number of persons who came out to assist in cleaning the various sites, and I hope we can see this amount and maybe great numbers coming out to the other sites,” said Ms Hughes who took part in the exercise that covered areas of the New Town community that included the Basseterre Water Aquifer and the fisheries complex.
“Because we just provided a little stimulus for the communities in cleaning their sites, we want and are encouraging each other not to litter – not to throw waste where it does not belong,” said the Director. “So I am hopeful that maybe by the time we get to our last site the communities would have already cleaned it before, and we just go out to smile.”
The event which was planned and executed under the auspices of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, had stakeholders from the Ministry of Tourism, Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC), Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), Public Works Department, Parks and Beaches, and Volunteer Corps of the Department of Youth Empowerment taking part in the clean-up.
With Ms Hughes from the Department of Environment for the clean-up were Mr Derionne Edmeade, Environment Education Officer; Ms Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer; Ms Phynora Ible, Consultant on Conserving Biodiversity Project; and Mr Eavin Parry, Environment Scientist.
The Director in the Department of Environment said that they were happy to join hands with the other stakeholders and members of the New Town community to help in cleaning the sites around the Basseterre Valley Aquifer and the fisheries complex area which she noted were very dirty.
“I always knew what the problem was, so it wasn’t eye opening for me, but it was still extremely disheartening and extremely of concern that we cause this – this is from our actions,” observed Ms Hughes. “The paper does not fly there – the bottles do not fly there. We people actively litter for no reason because to carry waste to the landfill is extremely cheap. So we have no excuse for causing such great harm to our natural environment.”
The meantime, Mr Derionne Edmeade, Environment Education Officer, added that the idea behind the entire activity was to try and find ways in which they can not only clean up but at the same time sensitise persons of the impacts that their waste would have on the physical environment, whether marine or the forested areas.
“We are here in this joint collaborative effort to try to clean up eyesore areas within St. Kitts, and hopefully we could share this with our partner island Nevis,” said Mr Edmeade. “As we clean we are just encouraging persons and I am hoping that onlookers would realise that what they would have been engaged in, in term of littering, is not a positive action. It is not something that would encourage for example our tourists to come.”
According to the Environment Education Officer, they were hoping that as they continue “these efforts from today on, and onwards, that other persons and other groups would actually join in with this collaborative efforts for all of us to find ways in which we can help to beautify St. Kitts. It is the island that we love. We say ‘I love St. Kitts’, so we have to find ways to really bring out that love within the physical environment.”