The Bahamian ocean provides fun fishing, diving and observation opportunities to tourists and provides a livelihood to many Bahamians. The Bahamas has abundant and varied populations of reef creatures, sports fish and marine mammals. However, worldwide, in many beautiful places, soda cans, plastic bags and bottles are replacing these sea creatures. September is International Coastal Cleanup Month and we challenge you to help stop this trash takeover!
Garbage, in the oceans around the world, is harming every oceanic species. Large sports fish, sharks and marine mammals become trapped in lost fishing nets while the smallest minnow ingests a piece of plastic and a turtle swallows a plastic shopping bag. Marine debris is harmful to recreational fishermen and commercial fishermen alike, because it is harming the same fish that they like to catch, and in some cases, making it unsafe to eat. In The Bahamas, many people rely on our marine resources to support themselves and their families. Often, the ones harming the fish are the same ones who enjoy catching and eating them. The Ocean Conservancy has reported that about 10% of marine debris comes from coastal recreational activities. We need to take responsibility and keep our oceans and coasts clean if we want to continue fishing and enjoying diving on beautiful reefs adorned with colorful tropical fish.
The Ocean Conservancy started International Coastal Cleanup month 25 years ago. Since the start, over 8 million people have crossed 300,000 miles collecting 144,606,491 pounds of trash. It’s great that trash is being collected, but it would be better if it were not thrown down in the first place. The number one cause of entangled wildlife is fishing line. Oceanic activities such as boating and fishing have contributed over 13 million pieces of marine debris in the past 25 years. You can help stop this! Be sure to dispose of all trash and fishing gear properly and recycle what you can.
Friends of the Environment is the Coastal Cleanup coordinator in Abaco. During International Coastal Cleanup Month FRIENDS will be providing garbage bags, gloves and trash surveys and will help plan cleanups in partnership with schools and community groups. Everyone is encouraged to take part in the efforts to clean our coasts. Contact Friends of the Environment at info@ friendsoftheenvironment.org or (242) 367-2721 to see how you can help!