In January, the Ocean Reef Press article titled “Going Green in 2019” detailed the initiatives for the new year which included eco-friendly straws offered with drinks, discontinuing use of non-biodegradable Styrofoam products in Food & Beverage outlets and transitioning to plant-based cutlery, among other ongoing efforts.
All of these are critical for conservation and future preservation but the Club also asked, what else can we do in the present? That’s when “Cleanliness First” was launched with two key initiatives. The first is a monthly Associate clean up, organized by the HR department, which provides bags and gloves for teams to go out and pick up trash in the Club’s common areas. Club clean-ups have long been a part of the Associate agenda, however by holding them with more frequency, the goal is to have fewer bags filled with each passing month.
Second was the hiring of a part-time Associate to remove the debris that is collecting off Buccaneer Island and in the channel. The new Marine Steward heads out for his “shift” in a kayak and picks up the litter and trash that is collecting due to the accumulation of seaweed. Removing the seaweed, which has been especially heavy this season, is a complicated issue and the Club and ORCA are considering solutions. In the meantime, by removing the debris, the environment is preserved and the water views enhanced.
Simultaneously, a Member of the community was asking the same question and taking action as well. Mike Yoh, whose family has been coming to Ocean Reef since the early 1980s writes, “When did it become acceptable to throw or drop, either accidently or not, our trash on the ground or in the waterways around The Reef? Are we really too busy to turn our carts around when a napkin or empty cup blows out? Are we really too rushed to properly secure a loaded truck heading to a dumpster?”
Yoh went on to tell the Ocean Reef Press that on his recent visit it was very disheartening to see how much litter had been discarded on Anchor Drive alone. With his wife, and visiting friends, they filled an entire garbage bag of trash just between Pumpkin Cay and the Four Way stop.
Cleanliness First is a program the Club is taking to heart. And as Yoh reminds, “We can all be a part of the solution, not the pollution.”