The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Ni­cholas

It is the home of two re­sorts: The Land­ings and Sandals Grande, and a place where hun­dreds of Saint Lu­cians recre­ate ev­ery week. It is also the “orig­i­nal” home of Saint Lu­cia Jazz. But a group of con­cerned Saint Lu­cians re­cently dis­cov­ered the cause­way lead­ing to Pi­geon Is­land and the sur­round­ing beaches are fast be­com­ing, like most of Saint Lu­cia, a place where in­dis­crim­i­nate garbage dis­posal and lit­ter­ing is the norm.

“We all have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep Saint Lu­cia clean and beau­ti­ful and this is one thing we can­not blame the au­thor­i­ties for,” Eve­lyn Paul, one of the con­cerned, told the STAR fol­low­ing a clean-up at Pi­geon Point on Tues­day Fe­bru­ary 2. “The ini­tial cleanup was suc­cess­ful. How­ever, this was merely the first step to re­solv­ing the epi­demic trash prob­lem in and around the Pi­geon is­land area and the rest of Saint Lu­cia,” Paul said.

Ac­cord­ing to the vol­un­teer who worked with a small group on Tues­day, dur­ing their clean-up they were alarmed to dis­cover that just out of sight in some of the un­de­vel­oped land lay a fes­ter­ing toxic waste dump moun­tain. “We couldn’t even be­gin to tackle it with our small crew so we will seek the nec­es­sary chan­nels to get some ur­gent help in its re­moval,” Paul stated..

Ac­cord­ing to her, many such other dump­ing grounds can be found all around the is­land and are a per­fect breed­ing ground for the mos­qui­toes that are spread­ing the Zika virus through­out the re­gion. “We sim­ply can­not af­ford this ad­di­tional catas­tro­phe,” Paul lamented.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the small beach on the op­po­site side of Sandals, which is fre­quented pri­mar­ily by lo­cals, was teem­ing with trash for as far as the eye could see when the team ar­rived on Tues­day.

“The sober­ing fact is that the work is just be­gin­ning and we need to move for­ward with our goal which in­cludes, but is not lim­ited to, plac­ing bins near the beaches, sur­veil­lance cam­eras to de­tect vi­o­la­tors of il­le­gal dump­ing and NCA le­gal sig­nage stat­ing the codes and vi­o­la­tion fines for of­fend­ers as well as en­force­ment, which will, of course, be a de­ter­rent,” Paul ex­plained.

Aware­ness is key and with ex­po­sure of their ef­forts through the me­dia and a so­cial me­dia cam­paign which will start soon, the group plan is to “bring this un­healthy and un­sightly is­sue to the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion.”

Eve­lyn Paul and her team want to thank SLASPA, Saint Lu­cia Na­tional Trust, Gros Islet MP Emma Hip­polyte and Gros Islet Mayor Ali­son King who came on board to as­sist in the ef­fort.

“It takes a vil­lage and I have no doubt we will suc­ceed. What I ask is that we move on this quickly as we do not have time to waste,” Paul cau­tioned.

This week­end the plan is to tackle a river in La­borie at the point where it meets the sea, which Eve­lyn Paul de­scribes as mag­i­cal. “It is re­ally a beau­ti­ful place but we are slowly notic­ing some garbage there so we want to clear that up and place a sign there,” she said.

The group is hop­ing that ev­ery sin­gle per­son can take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their sur­round­ings, their com­mu­nity and Saint Lu­cia as a whole by dis­pos­ing of garbage prop­erly, by ed­u­cat­ing oth­ers about the proper prac­tices and by alert­ing the au­thor­i­ties where there are prob­lems of in­dis­crim­i­nate garbage dis­posal which pose a threat to our land, rivers and beaches.

Bags of garbage col­lected at Pi­geon Is­land on

Tues­day piled moun­tain high!

Recre­ational spots at Pi­geon Is­land strewn with lit­ter.

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