West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association (WEEFCA), in conjunction with 4Oceans, a United States based environmental organization and Save the Bays, partnered for a massive coastal clean-up in the West End Community this past Saturday, April 1.
Students residing in the area, those whom are participants of the above mentioned organizations, along with others assembled bright and early on the grounds of St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church to participate in the joint effort to clean West End in hopes of returning it to the splendid beauty it is known for.
Keith and Linda Cooper, Directors of WEEFCA and residents of the quaint settlement remain committed to restoring the beauty West End enjoyed, prior to the passing of Hurricane Matthew.
The initiative over the weekend was just one way, which the stakeholders seek to do that.
Linda Barry-Cooper spoke to this daily prior to the start of the clean-up, “We all know that in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the surge brought in a lot of debris – marine debris and litter from households. We are here today, as our joint effort with 4Ocean, which is the primary sponsor and Save the Bays, with Joe Darville and Rasheema Ingraham.
“We decided that we will all come together with the WEEFCA campers, as well as Save the Bay Campers, that have their own eco youth camp, as well as some of the West End Primary School children and some Boy Scouts in the area as well.”
Barry-Cooper noted that the clean-up effort was timely, as there were similar clean-up efforts taking place simultaneously on other parts of the island, all with one objective, to restore Grand Bahama to its clean, green and pristine state that all residents and guests to the island have enjoyed for so long.
“This joint initiative is a timely effort, to have this environmental clean-up take place, especially as there are two other campaigns going on with the Keep Grand Bahama Clean Committee (KGBCC) in Pineridge as well as in Coral Gardens. On the entire island, there are hands across Grand Bahama; God is saying, ‘Clean up.’ Let us restore it; whatever has happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, we cannot just allow that to stay out there and litter our communities. We just need to embrace our communities, clean them up and get them back to what they once were. God is restoring all things.”
She used the opportunity to thank everyone that was instrumental in making the clean-up such a huge success.
“I would like to thank Kelly’s Freeport Limited and Lynn Lowe, for all of the contractor bags and the latex gloves; Nanadana Resort, The Freeport News; Andrew Cooper, who is spearheading the 4Oceans team; Keith Cooper, my husband and Save the Bays. Joe Darville and Rasheema Ingraham have such a passion for ‘Mother Earth.’ Earth Day is coming up, we are in preparation for that day as well as for the Power Boat races that will take place here in West End.”
Andrew Cooper, Chief Beach Clean-up officer with 4Ocean disclosed that none of their efforts would have been possible without the continuous support of the Coopers and WEEFCA.
“Keith and Linda deserve so much more credit than what people are giving them; we may have the banner, the flags, the camera and the gear, but they are the crutch putting this entire thing together. If it were not for them, we would not be in West End right now; there is no doubt about that. It is thanks to them and West End Ecology Tours and Save the Bays that made this possible,” shared Cooper.
Darville, Save the Bays Chairman and President of Water Keepers Bahamas reiterated the importance of such clean-up efforts and what it means to the organizations.
“We have a great love, whether you visit Grand Bahama or whether you stay in Grand Bahama and you visit West End; … West End is one of the most precious places I have seen on the planet, particularly within the archipelagic nation of The Bahamas. We have an incredible love for the ocean and when you drive around that first entrance into West End, and you look out over that bay area, the waters and imagine the magnificence of what God has given us, we have a special love and desire to protect it and keep it clean and pristine,” said Darville.
“With this amazing organization that Keith Cooper and his wife Linda run in West End, regularly, and joining with them along with 4Ocean, it is a marvelous combination for us to come here and do what we can to clean up the coastal area and make it look like it was just created by the hand of God.
“We are talking about the Earth, which has a consciousness of its own … 99.999 percent of what we are comes from ‘Mother Earth,’ the rest is breathed into us; the soul, by the divine. We must respect her, as we respect a mother. Every place that we are, it is like the Garden of Eden, and therefore, we have to keep it clean and pristine as if it was there in the first act of creation by God.
“It always gives us joy to be able to attempt to return it to that pristine level of creation. It is a joy to be here today, to join with organizations of like mind, heart and soul, to protect and care for and to become the stewards of our beautiful environment.”
Questioned how many persons in his group traveled to West End for the clean-up exercise, Darville answered, “Including our facilitators, we have about 31 persons here today. We are joining with all of these other organizations out of West End. I want to particularly thank Keith Cooper and his wife Linda and the team from 4Ocean, for joining with us to carry out this particular exercise.
“We are hoping that the residents of West End see and appreciate what is being done and actually join in and foster the mindset within the entire realm of West End, that their place is beautiful and they need to keep it so by cherishing it and keeping it clean.”
William Harold Cash, Second Grand Bahama Scout Trooper, of West End Boy Scouts Association shared that he decided to bring some of his troops to participate in the clean up campaign.
“This is a part of discipline … we do this as part of our training, learning how to be clean and the fact that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Imparting the laws and rules to the boys is very important. One of the Scout laws is that Cub Scouts make good use of their time and is careful with his possessions and property, and that a scout always has respect for himself and others; that is the reason that we are here today.
“There are three Cub Scout laws, a cub scout always does his best, and think about others before himself. We are here now to do that. We have about 14 boys enrolled in this group, but today we have about six boys participating today.”
At the conclusion of the clean- up exercise, Linda Copper revealed that over 1,500 pounds of litter was removed from the coastal community of West End and transported to the Pineridge landfill. While a tremendous feat, Copper shared that unfortunately, there is much more that remains.
Published Thursday, April 6, 2017