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Wheelbarrow for Mayreau Clean Up

Wheelbarrow for Mayreau Clean Up



by Jonathan Underwood,
SusGren Inc.

On the morning of Thursday January 13, close to twenty people boarded a Tobago Cays Marine Park boat on the Clifton wharf.{{more}} Sustainable Grenadines Inc., the Union Island Environmental Attackers, the Union Island Revenue Office, and the Solid Waste Management Unit/Central Water and Sewage Authority were all represented.

The destination was the small island of Mayreau-located just over a mile to the North East. Along with the passengers and crew was a very special piece of cargo. A shiny new wheelbarrow was freshly painted with sponsors’ names: “Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute” and “Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Management.” The gift, purchased by Sustainable Grenadines Inc. (SusGren), a Grenadines NGO which arose after eight years of environmental and sustainable livelihoods work in the Grenadines, was carefully placed aboard and lashed to the stern.

Olando Harvey and Albert Hanson of the Tobago Cays Marine Park navigated the waves outside of Clifton Harbor, doing their best to keep their passengers dry. Despite some minor spray, all aboard arrived safely on the dock in Mayreau Harbor-including the black wheelbarrow.

Some passengers escorted the wheelbarrow into a truck, which left the dock and started up the hill. Halfway to the top, the wheelbarrow was unloaded. It was decorated with a few hats, work gloves, a pair of work boots, a ground rake, and a shovel.

This gift was sponsored through a CaMPAM and GCFI project, and implemented by SusGren as a part of the “Reducing Marine Litter in the Grenadines Project.” It was delivered in partnership with Environmental Attackers. Indeed many people, and organizations, believed in the importance of the gift.

The recipient of the wheelbarrow was a tall, quiet man. Collin Grant is the only person on Mayreau who removes household waste, transporting it to an unregulated dumpsite. Using only his bare hands and a small, rickety wheelbarrow, he walks the island in worn out shoes to collect and consolidate trash. Collin’s gift will undoubtedly make his job easier.

A blessing of the equipment by Katrina Adams of Environmental Attackers opened the official presentation. Martin Barriteau, of SusGren described Collin as a “difference-maker.” His commitment to the removal of litter from one of the, “last untouched islands” has placed Collin on a level of, “statesmen”, Barriteau added.

Saville Lewis, island supervisor, Union Island portion of the SWMU/CWSA, also spoke praises of the gift, and of the importance of the inclusion of Mayreau in a unified plan to improve waste management across all of the Grenadines. Tyler Farrow, a Canadian intern with SusGren, played an integral role in arranging the delivery and the presentation. Farrow was impressed with the resolve shown by Collin amidst very limited resources: “It is amazing to see one man play such an important role.” John Roach, an active member of the Mayreau community, hailed the presentation as “The beginning of something.”

Aside from the hat, the gloves, the boots, and the tools, another message was sent from Union Island today. The waste disposal issue in Mayreau has captured the attention of many organizations far and near. Litter may take a different form on one island or another, but it is a common concern for all of the Grenadines.

Sherma Selby Adams, the District Officer of Union and Mayreau summed up the sentiment of the occasion: “Each one can reach one.” It seems as though in this case, one man, Collin Grant, has reached many.

A small offering of supplies to one man will not solve the developing trash problem on Mayreau. It is the only island in the Grenadines without organized solid waste management. With new roads, a marina, and other land-based construction projects slated for this tiny island, Mayreau’s future will require a comprehensive plan for waste. For now, this Grenadine gem has a new wheel. In the coming months and years, it will take many more turning wheels to push Mayreau on a new path of waste management.