Environmental scientists – define marine litter as “any manufactured or processed solid waste material (typically inert) that enters the marine environment from any source” (Caribbean Environment Programme, 2007).  As well as being unsightly for our tourists and ourselves, it does untold damage to our coastal flora and fauna.  Its impact, through physical damage and pollution, is ultimately fatal.

The BVI Conservation & Fisheries Department is the lead agency on the Ocean Conservancy’s Annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), but more and more BVI service organizations are lending a hand in cleaning up the BVI year-round.  Willing and much appreciated volunteers are seen walking the beaches with black bin (garbage) bags in hand; and the efforts even extend off shore with dive operators offering cheap thrills in return for picking up man’s mess that is threatening the BVI’s beautiful underwater habitat.  

The ICC has brought a tremendous amount of awareness of the impact of marine litter to the world, but sadly, one day a year to clean up the coast really isn’t enough. If over 7 million pounds of beach and shoreline litter was collected around the world in one day last year, imagine how much more can be collected on a regular monthly or even weekly basis.

So, the next time you walk the beach or go for a dive, grab a garbage bag. Don’t be surprised if people join you!