A participant picks up garbage during the Ministry of Planning and Development, National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago and the Delegation of the European Union, Coastal Clean-up 2021 at the Carenage Fishing Centre, Western Main Road, Carenage yesterday.

When visitors boarded a vessel in Carenage to get to Nelson Island, the surroundings, according to one representative from the Ministry of Planning and Development was, “not the best”. This as he described a coastline filled with garbage.

“The place is important because it is tied to heritage tourism as well the National Trust actually uses the pier just behind us…We wanted to put T&Ts best foot forward, “Kendal Fontenelle said.

But that all changed on Friday, at least for a while, after a collaborative effort between approximately 20 volunteers from the Ministry, the Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago and the National Trust cleaned the beach.

“Right now we are happy but we wanted to send a message that Environment Pride is National Pride…We don’t want to be a cleaned society, we want to be a clean society,” Fontenelle said.

He said 95 per cent of this country’s waste go to landfills but the other five per cent is what his ministry was worried about.

“The 5 per cent is people deciding we don’t want it anymore and they dump it in the sea,” he revealed.

Fontenelle said they are currently doing research to find out how much of the waste escapes from the landfill with the long-term aim of rehabilitating them.

This country has three landfills in Beetham, Forres Park and Guanapo.

When Guardian Media arrived the volunteers who were out since 9 am were filling a truck with garbage that consisted of plastics, old furniture and tires.

Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union Sanjin Soldatic said the volunteers managed to collect a lot in two hours which he believed made a difference.

“We had piles of plastic bottles…What we are doing is only a drop in the ocean but maybe we can launch a wave of change, “he said.

Every year the Delegation of the European Union would participate in beach clean-ups but because of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the scheduled exercise was cancelled and held on Friday instead. They intend to host another in September this year to make up for lost time.

“We like to see the beach clean and local community come out and enjoy,” he added.