It is a new month and a first Friday has come and gone and if you live north of the bridge on Ambergris Caye, you know what that means: There is less trash on the side of the road.
Our monthly project, First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pickup, is yielding some real dividends.
Most obvious is that for once during the month, the sides of the road and the beach are a lot less trashier. The reality is that within a day, people will be chucking their bottles and Styrofoam lunch containers, diapers and water bags as they pass through the neighborhood.
We get that.
But we hope every month that the message goes a little wider and fewer people have dumped their refuse beside the road.
Here is a great selection of photographs from Sue Blair on the First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pick Up Facebook page.
The good news is that a design has been picked for trash barrels and the town of San Pedro may be distributing them in the near future! The barrels will give people traveling north of the bridge a place to put their trash, for once. View the winning entry, from Juanece Messervy, right here.
As with any project like this, there is a core group that shows up month after month, despite the frustration. After the second time, the novelty is no longer there and the charm is well wiped away. What is left is island love, companionship and neighborhood pride.
And it helps so much that Carmen Arenal of Coco Loco’s Beach Bar keeps steady supply of cold water available to hydrate the volunteers — while she ferries filled bags back to the pickup zone. At the end of the line, Marbucks Coffee House is waiting for us with ice coffee, cookies and tea and Rose Alcantara of Pilates by Rose has a eucalyptus scented chilled white wash cloth for each of us.
This month we had a special guest volunteer from Oceana Belize, Roxy Perez-Gentle. Oceana has been at the forefront of cleaning the Belize shores and preventing oil exploration on the barrier reef, among other projects.
Well, come October, the weather might be cooler, the trash a little less and the friendships as strong and welcoming as ever.
Come, join us.
PS: Anyone traveling down from the States or Canada to Ambergris Caye, please consider packing a handful of the cheap trash picker sticks you can find at Home Depot or the Dollar Store. Our aching backs will thank you!
PPS: If there are any real estate companies up here with lots for sale — you know, the one’s whose lots we clean up — or and major beverage distributing companies — whose empty products account for about half our trash — well, hey, we are looking for sponsors who can provide trash bags, gloves, water, nice hats, t-shirts, beer …..