NASSAU, BAHAMAS— The Bahamas National Coastal Awareness Committee, a group of stakeholders from the private and public sectors with an interest in promoting the sustainable development of The Bahamas, is celebrating ten years of creating awareness of the coastal environment. This year’s focus will be on encouraging the public to visit and appreciate our coast.
“For ten years, our Committee has been committed to creating awareness of the five main threats to our coastal environment, as well as working together with volunteers here in Nassau and the Out Islands, on activities that have improved the environment,” said Earlston McPhee, Chairman of the Coastal Awareness Committee and Director, Sustainable Development for the Ministry of Tourism. “Our goal is to educate the public and to offer real solutions to people that collectively will help us as a developing country and as a tourist destination.
In the beginning, we focused our activities in the month of April. Now, we have expanded our reach and we have events taking place throughout the year. For our tenth anniversary, our main event is taking place on April 28th with a Fun Run/Walk along the coast in Nassau. We want to bring the public to the coast this year and highlight the importance of preserving and protecting our entire coastal ecosystem.”
The National Coastal Awareness Committee has additional activities scheduled for April which is officially National Coastal Awareness Month in The Bahamas. The public is invited to participate.
The Committee will host, in collaboration with its strategic partners both in the public and private sectors the following activities: national Public Service Announcement campaigns on television and radio; a Sustainable Living initiative mainly to involve businesses; erection of banners throughout participating islands in The Bahamas; primary and secondary school competitions with a submission deadline; field trips with Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island, Dive Stuart Cove, have been arranged to provide students with an opportunity to learn about protecting the coasts and enjoy the marine wonders of the Bahamas; Fun/Run/Walk in Andros. The Committee has already travelled to Eleuthera for a beach clean up in March as part of this year’s activities.
As this is a national initiative, Beach clean-ups, dune restorations and other Coastal Awareness activities are planned for the islands of Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma and Cat Island.
The 2012 Coastal Awareness Committee includes members from the following organizations:
Ministry of Tourism
Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission (BEST)
Bahamas Hotel Association
Bahamas National Trust
Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF)
Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas
College of The Bahamas
Department of Environmental Health Services
Department of Marine Resources
Dive Stuart Cove
Dolphin Encounters Ltd.
The Nature Conservancy
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
The College of The Bahamas
The University of The West Indies
“Our coastal and marine resources help shape our nation’s character and its distinctive personality,” adds Mr. McPhee. “All beneficiaries of the tourism industry must take an interest and active role in conserving our natural resources, particularly in growing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like The Bahamas.
As we depend on the tourism industry the economic sustainability of The Bahamas hinges on our ability to maintain the natural beauty of these islands that attracts millions to our shores. We thank each of our corporate sponsors who continue to support and contribute to this worthwhile effort. We also ask the public to participate in our upcoming events as we strive to sustain the natural beauty of these islands for our socio-economic welfare and that of our guests. We are all in this together and as our motto states ‘If not us…Who? If not Now…When?’”
For more information on National Coastal Awareness month, “Like” the Bahamas National Coastal Awareness Committee on Facebook , or to become a sponsor please contact Earlston McPhee at 356-6963/67/38.