With the release of a new guide providing best-practices and tips to host effective beach cleanup events, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) is encouraging local businesses to be responsible corporate citizens and embrace the important role they play in the sustainable future of our ocean.
World Oceans Day is recognised by the United Nations and organisations and individuals around the world on June 8th every year. Given that The Bahamas is 95% underwater, BREEF is celebrating the whole of June as World Oceans Month.
Executive Director of BREEF, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert describes the annual celebration as “an internationally coordinated effort promoting the protection and restoration of the one shared ocean that connects us all.”
The yearly observance, beginning in 2002 and officially recognised by the United Nations in 2009, unites individuals, governments, civic organizations, religious groups and businesses worldwide through thousands of in-person and virtual events organised across 140 countries throughout the globe. This year’s theme of ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’ is especially relevant to The Bahamas as our primary industry, tourism, relies heavily on the ocean through beaches, seafood, snorkelling, yachting and more, along with the countless supporting jobs that go along with each.
The head of the local marine-conservation non-profit indicated that this time each year her organization often receives requests by companies wishing to participate in coastal cleanup initiatives and to engage their staff in activities that help protect the ocean. “It is extremely encouraging to see businesses becoming more environmentally conscious and keen to take action. In these challenging times, there is no better place to be than outdoors and in the fresh air, or even better wearing a mask underwater!” To facilitate this, BREEF has created an easy-to-use toolkit that businesses can use to organize their own events.
“Rather than facilitating one single cleanup, this year we decided to think out of the box and shift our focus to building capacity. We wanted to equip our partners with a simple but detailed guide that will help them to be successful” McKinney-Lambert continued.
The guide, which can be found on the BREEF’s website (breef.org) provides breakdowns for before, during and after cleanup events, important contact information for relevant agencies and data collection sheets that can be reported and input into a global database. The goal is that with multiple businesses conducting their own respective cleanup exercises throughout the month of June and beyond, the overall impact will be multiplied across the entire Bahamas.
BREEF is also offering companies planning on hosting beach clean ups the opportunity to have a BREEF team member schedule time slots on the day to speak with their groups on the importance of action to protect Bahamian marine life and how both the business and its team members can continue to do their part year-round.
With June 1st simultaneously serving as the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and initial projections forecasting an active season ahead, the BREEF executive felt there was no better time to release the publication. “Our coral reefs serve as the first line of defense during major storms, reducing wave energy by up to 97%. Human impacts like pollution are just one of several major threats wreaking havoc on coral reef ecosystems worldwide. With this new guide we really hope to maximize our reach and see an increase in the number of cleanups, no matter how big or small.”
The non-profit foundation will also be hosting a public cleanup and snorkel event at 10AM on Saturday, 12 June at Saunders Beach for interested individuals, small groups and families to attend.
Organisations wishing to coordinate their upcoming cleanup events with BREEF can get in contact by calling (242) 327-9000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.