CEPEP chairman Ashton Ford on Wednesday said citizens should be more responsible for keeping the country’s beaches clean.
Speaking at the launch of Cepep’s coastal clean-up initiative at the Manzanilla Beach Resort, Ford said despite regular clean-up by regional corporations and Cepep, some people visiting the beaches regularly leave their garbage behind, leave the recreational sites a dismal mess for others.
Seeing plastic plates, bottles and empty food containers strewn haphazardly over beaches nationwide has become quite the norm over the years, despite the availability of bins.
“It is really the public when they come to the beach with their families. They lime, eat and drink and then leave all their garbage behind.”
Ford said this initiative is part of a national exercise to keep coastal areas clean.
“Enforcement is the problem. People need to be monitored when they come to the beach, and that is why the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation has litter wardens.
“People need to keep the place clean, and they also need to know that there are serious fines for littering.”
Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein praised the hundreds of employees from Cepep, the Environmental Management Authority, the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, the Solid Waste Management Company Ltd and the Coastal Protection Unit who turned out for the clean-up.
Trucks and backhoes, rakes, shovels and garbage bags were plentiful as workers set out along the high-water mark, clearing garbage and seaweed along the shore.
He said they helped to keep the country clean with their hard work for which they should be proud.
“I say a special thanks to the women. You are the mothers of the nation and you work hard to keep the country clean – and there is nothing wrong in cleaning.
“There is no shame in cleaning, you should be proud. I started out as cleaner, cleaning a former prime minister’s office, and look at where I am today.”
The minister said he was going to make an example of those who littered the beaches, adding that there were several people before the courts on littering charges. He said they were caught in the act in videos on social media and were identified by people in their own communities.
Hosein said this showed there were citizens who cared about the environment. “We need to clean up the beaches and I am going to get the job done,” he vowed.