Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2022. 1:10 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: It’s been around a year and a half since Placencia resident Claudia Bryan first organized a team of youths to tackle the village’s problem of plastic trash along the beach.
Byan told Breaking Belize News that about a dozen school-aged children assemble on Sunday mornings and collect plastic debris from the Surfside area starting from Cocos Beachfront Cabanas. The youths even make a game out of who can collect the most plastic trash to keep the initiative fun. After a successful outing, the team is treated to snacks and educational prizes, to congratulate them for a job well done.
Inspiration for the initiative came shortly after Bryan moved to Belize and realized that the country, like many others, is grappling with the problem of plastic trash.
“Plastic is a scourge that blights Belize’s coast. It’s an eyesore that also poisons marine life and fouls the beaches. With a half-life of several hundred years, plastic is not biodegradable. Many solutions have been put forward to solve this problem. The first step must always be education,” Bryan said.
After engaging the children and their parents about the problem and possible solutions, Lady C as she is affectionately known, organized the cleanup initiative which has been in place for 18 months. Bryan hopes that the initiative will inspire other communities, and other youths, to join the war against plastic trash and the harmful effects it has on the environment.
“Many people carelessly discard an empty plastic soda bottle or throw away a broken plastic sandal. Each of these pieces simply adds to the growing problem. People need to see and understand the damage these discarded items do to their neighborhood, town, and their own lives.”
As a country Belize has been at the forefront of environmental preservation, enacting legislation in 2020 for the phasing out of single-use plastics. The final phase was made official in March 2022, making the possession of prohibited plastic items an offense; however, the war against plastic still rages on.
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