Cooper’s Island clean-up collects more than 300lb of trash

A team of visiting students collected more than 300lb of trash during a clean-up on Cooper’s Island nature reserve.

About 55 students and staff from the Class Afloat programme also removed 30lb of recyclables from the shoreline.

The work was carried out on Thursday and Friday, and was organised by the environmental charity Keep Bermuda Beautiful in partnership with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

A KBB spokeswoman said: “Together we removed about 300lb of ocean pollution — mainly plastics that have washed ashore from elsewhere — and 30lb of recyclables, mostly bottles and cans, that were discarded by Bermuda’s own residents.

“We would like to thank BIOS for their collaboration on this project, and also Class Afloat for wanting to learn about our precious marine environment and giving back to help Keep Bermuda Beautiful.

“We can each do our part to reduce waste, eliminate litter and beautify the island.

“Education and community outreach are key components to successfully achieving and maintaining KBB’s mission. Funding for KBB’s education programmes and island-wide community initiatives is a critical need that provides support for KBB’s strategic goals and objectives.”

The island is a “magnet” for plastic waste dumped overboard by vessels crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Traci Burgess, the executive director of KBB, had previously toldThe Royal Gazette: “Because we’re the only landmass in a massive body of water, we attract everything.

“It comes across from Africa, it comes down from the UK, the northeast US, Canada and the Caribbean. It all catches in Bermuda and it’s having such a devastating impact on our island.

“Globally, ocean pollution is such a huge problem and we have to focus on it.”

The West Island College’s international Class Afloat programme, which is headquartered in Nova Scotia, Canada, takes students around the world’s seas on board a tall ship.

Participants earn their sea legs by manning the vessel on a trip across three continents — the Americas, Africa and Europe.

But it’s not always a case of “all hands on deck”. Students are expected to hit the books when off duty in order to gain credits for university courses.

To find out more about the Class Afloat programme, click here.

KBB organises monthly clean-up operations across the island. To learn more, and to volunteer, click here.

The Royal Gazette