THE young Stewards of the Environment, a volunteer squad of teenaged Tobagonians who care for the environment and who are mobilised by the Yahweh Foundation (YF) in Buccoo, recently conducted a beach clean-up effort in the community.
The YF team has been collecting recyclables, and removing garbage from the picturesque Buccoo Beach, at least once per month, for the past two years.
Team leader Shakeem Murray described the activity as being “part give-back to Buccoo, part Yahweh mandate to give our youths gainful experience, and part organised and enduring care for our environment,” said a media release.
Murray said, “Each month when we clean-up Buccoo Beach, we hit those three targets, and thereby strengthen our grip on our responsibility to care for the Buccoo environment, its inland and coastland.”
Every four to six weeks, the YF Stewards, made up of a mix of energy-driven youth, from five-19 years, slip on their “Y”-emblazoned T-shirts, assemble their clean-up tools and other instruments, and head for the Buccoo Beach to work on restoring it to its pristine condition.
“We fill bags with discarded plastic bottles and other recyclables, and separate bags with styrofoam containers, and all the other waste items left behind by visitors who seem to focus more on their enjoyment than on our environment,” Murray said.
The retrieved recyclables are then deposited near the Buccoo Community Centre, for collection by trucks provided by BK Holdings Ltd as a goodwill favour to the foundation, and the recyclable, waste material is transported to Freeport, Trinidad.
“Truth is,” Murray said, “what may be pure hard work to some folks is really a pleasure for us as we get the self-satisfaction of keeping our own environment clean and protected. After all, we live here…and we want to enjoy a garbage-free coastline throughout the year.”
About their determination to maintain the environment, founder and director of YF Penny Camps said, “At Yahweh Foundation, we’re great believers in where there’s a will, there’s a way…and conversely, once shown the way, the will emerges to do things. We gave our youth training in a range of matters related to environmental responsibility, and now they are the leaders of our overarching project titled Enviro CPR –connect, preserve, restore– which is an organised amalgam of indoor familiarisation, fun-filled field-trips for hands-on experience, and the exploring of ways to earn sustainability from this wonderful world around us.”
Camps, joined by a YF team of facilitators and volunteers, runs the foundation’s programmes out of the Buccoo Community Centre, offering an eclectic mix of activities for Buccoo and the environs.
These include a holistic after-school programme, life-enriching activities for the elderly, and a special focus for teenagers using the performing arts as a transformational tool, as well as taking leadership roles in defining their contribution to the environment.