Local littering is contributing to the ocean pollution crisis, which is “quite literally choking our local marine environments and poisoning the world’s oceans”.
That is the message from Traci Burgess, the executive director of the environment charity Keep Bermuda Beautiful, which recently organised a coastal clean-up that removed seven tonnes of trash.
“Local litter along Bermuda’s roadsides and coastal areas continues to present challenges across the entire island. Illegal dumping, especially in public areas like parks, beaches and docks, is another problem.
“These local issues are contributing to the ocean pollution crisis, which is quite literally choking our local marine environments and poisoning the world’s oceans.
“KBB, with support from generous donors, dedicated volunteers and reliable project partners, continues to aim for systemic changes in behaviour to stop local littering and illegal dumping, and promote efforts to combat ocean pollution.”
As well as organising community clean-up campaigns throughout the year, KBB runs education programmes to “encourage changes in behaviour“.
Ms Burgess said: “KBB’s schools-based curriculum, lesson plans and programmes are available to all public and private students across the island.
“Our community outreach initiatives are intended to reach a diverse cross-section of Bermuda’s population through a variety of methods. We frequently provide public awareness campaigns aimed at reducing waste, eliminating litter and encouraging an increase in recycling.
“We also strive to have a KBB presence at public events and engage in grassroots projects throughout the community, all of which provide opportunities to reinforce positive choices for developing healthier waste management habits.
Ms Burgess said that the charity worked closely with the Government, private sector sponsors, volunteers, donors and other organisations.
She said: “The combination of consistent action and education, blended with successful partnerships and increasing community support for KBB, will continue to help deliver KBB’s mission of reducing waste, eliminating litter and beautifying the island.
“For many of us, we only have one home — our beautiful island. It is up to each of us to care for the environment, display our pride in Bermuda and preserve our unique and very fragile ecosystem.
“Every sustainable step you decide to take, whether big or small, is greatly appreciated and makes a difference for Bermuda, our planet and our future.”
Tips to keep plastic at bay
KBB and a second charity, the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, have joined forces in support of the Government’s aim to eliminate single-use plastics.
The campaign — Beyond Plastic Bermuda — is raising awareness and providing education on the harmful effects single-use plastics are having on the environment and on human health.
1. Invest in reusable shopping and produce bags
2. Say ‘no’ to plastic cutlery or give it back if a restaurant puts it in the bag without asking
3. Choose loose fruit and vegetables from the supermarket or farm stall over ones wrapped in plastic. Ask shops and farmers not to put fruit and vegetables in plastic
4. Where something has to be packaged, choose glass, tin or aluminium packaging
5. Invest in your own takeout items such as reusable cutlery, cups, water bottles, straws and food containers
6. Fill up and take a reusable water bottle with you every time you leave the house. Ask restaurants or stores to fill it up for you if a filling station isn’t available
7. Ditch the clingfilm and Ziploc bags. Invest in beeswax food wrap and reusable food bags
8. When you need or want something, check out local second-hand shops first
9. If you chew gum, try natural or organic ones, otherwise you are just chewing plastic
10. Instead of plastic Tupperware, buy glass containers or reuse glass jars and biscuit tins
11. Use matches instead of disposable cigarette lighters
12. Buy wooden pegs for your washing instead of plastic ones
13. Check that products such as make-up, toiletries, tea bags, sunscreen, even clothing, doesn’t contain plastic before you buy them, and where possible, choose reusable over disposable
14. For parties and events, buy, or make your own, cloth bunting or other non-plastic decorations instead of balloons
15. Swap chemical cleaning products for vinegar, water and baking soda, and use natural cleaning cloths and scrubbers instead of ones containing plastic
16. Ask your favourite takeout restaurants about reusable foodware systems
Beyond Plastic Bermuda is a joint campaign by BEST, KBB and environmental advocates to educate and help our island move away from plastic. For more information and ideas, click here or call 799 5142.