On May 22, Marvin Russell of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) delivered a presentation at Friends of the Environment on the extraordinary amount of illegal dumping that takes place on Abaco.
High school students from Maryland’s Oldfields School, a college preparatory boarding and day school for girls in grades six through 12, were in attendance. Russell showed a series of, “garbage posters,” that left them visibly shocked to see garbage overflowing in such an unexpected place – the forest.
What should have been a pristine environment near the community of Spring City was littered with discarded building supplies, derelict vehicles, furniture, household appliances and clothing. Even more bizarre was the huge amount of Heineken beer bottles dumped near the road to Camp Abaco.
After the presentation, the female students were taken on a field trip and clean-up exercise they got a close up view of the unsightly environmental state of our island.
“The clean-up was a real eye-opener; they collected three loads of trash in 30 to 40 minutes,” FRIENDS Executive Director Kristin Williams revealed.
The group visited Abaco for two weeks, and spent their first week in Marsh Harbour, visited Abaco’s blue holes, and travelled to Green Turtle Cay. They met with Ashley Newell, who taught them how to create seaglass jewelry, which she uses to raise funds for the Humane Society.
In their final week, the girls were afforded a sailing expedition aboard a catamaran, and a fun day at Mermaid Reef. As alumni of Oldsfield College, Williams, Cindy Newell and Victoria Albury sponsored the trip for the students and two chaperones.
After seeing the amount of trash at the entrance of the Marsh Harbour Landfill, Williams said that at a recent FRIENDS meeting, Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett was confounded by what he saw on his visit, and he emphasized that something has to be done immediately.
Williams agreed that we all have to come up with a solution, and stated that the girls did suggest putting incentive programs in place for recycling, or simply keeping the public dump open on Sundays.
“People need to understand why conservation is so important,” Williams said. “I am discouraged by the lack of pride.”