The tally was considerable, the volunteers were weary and, in terms of making Bodden Town a cleaner place, the result was a positive one at this year’s Earth Day cleanups in the district.
The 50 or so volunteers who took part in the Bodden Town portion of the island-wide Earth Day cleanup on April 16 collected hundreds of bags of trash.
“Our area teams were collecting 40, 50 bags in their designated zones, just in the few hours that they were out, from around 7-11 a.m. that day,” said Heather Bodden, an advocate for island beautification, who helped coordinate the cleanup for the local Progressives MLA office.
“It’s in my blood,” she says of her passion for conservation, which she says runs in the family.
Notable cleanup coups included five garbage bags of empty cans and bottles collected in just one location, and giant piles of rubbish agglomerated at pickup points throughout the district, from Savannah to Frank Sound Road.
“We all did that on Saturday, but there was so much left to do, workers were hired to continue with the extensive cleanup that remained to be done in the district,” said Ms. Bodden.
She said the cleanup crews worked throughout the following week, into the next weekend.
“In our district, we have areas that have garbage piled up for months, telling us that, on one hand, these kinds of cleanups need, for now, to be done more often.”
On the other hand, she argues, the amount of trash the cleanup identified signifies a bigger problem.
“In the district there was a lot of litter, but also items like mattresses and appliances that had just been tossed and left, and it’s giving the impression that at least some people just don’t care,” she said, adding that such items are not only unsightly but attract vermin and pests.
“It’s disheartening to see so much trash, as first and foremost, it’s something I despise to see on our beautiful beloved island.”
Ms. Bodden said she found it particularly discouraging that the cleanup volunteers and workers found piles of trash so close to available garbage bins.
“If we don’t get a handle on this issue, the island will become one big dumping ground,” she said. “We have a landfill, which is where all trash, particularly large items, should be dumped.”
Ms. Bodden said the cleanup findings should be motivation for strengthening and enforcing laws that penalize litterbugs.
“People need to be made accountable for this kind of behavior, they need to be named and shamed.”