Recognizing the importance of coastal protection, Ministry of Tourism officials in Grand Bahama brought to the forefront initiatives taken in April, Coastal Awareness Month, that highlighted the importance of protecting the island's coastline.
In a press conference on Tuesday at Xanadu Beach, Betty Bethel, Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama, noted “The month of April, since 2006, has been dedicated to focusing on our environment because it plays such a critical role in our tourism product, particularly here on Grand Bahama Island.”
She added that the press conference was called to share some of the initiatives taken by the Ministry to manage environmental threats faced daily “such as pollution, climate change, habitat destruction, over fishing and the proliferation of endangered species, like the Lion fish.
“We are most concerned this year, because in addition to these five threats that we’ve identified, we also had another threat — which was Hurricane Matthew.” As a result, there was a lot of destruction to the coastline, and there remains a lot of litter.
To address the issues, the Ministry of Tourism has partnered with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and its ‘Let’s Keep Grand Bahama Clean’ campaign in an attempt to keep the island unspoiled.
“We just want to remind the community that we are environment-driven destination, most of our tours and attractions take place in our environment so guests come with the expectation of having a clean, green and pristine environment.”
Jeffrey Pinder, Senior Executive Sustainable Tourism, said that while a lot of the debris has not been cleared since the passing of Hurricane Matthew last year, people are contributing to it by not disposing of their trash properly. Plastic bags and trash can end up in the ocean and the fish mistake it for food, which is having a direct impact on residents. In a joint effort with ‘Keep Grand Bahama Clean,’ AML foods issued reusable grocery bags so as to minimize the use of plastic bags.
To continue the message and encourage residents to get involved, there will be a clean-up of William’s Town on Friday.