Officials of the Ethan S. Bain Environmental Health Foundation presented officials of the Ministry of Health and Social development and Department of Environmental Health Services with bio-degradable garbage bags which are to be used as part of the ministry’s anti-littering campaign. Pictured from left are Pastor Geoffrey Thompson, Mrs. Jacqueline Bain, Founder/Chairperson of the Ethan S. Bain Foundation, Mr. Peter Brown, Minister of Health and Social Development, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis, Ms. Janice McCants-Miller, Vice-Chairman, Dr. Michael Turner, Under Secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Development and Mr. Anthony “Skeebo” Roberts. (Photo/Patrick Hanna)
By: Matt Maura
NASSAU, Bahamas –— The Ethan S. Bain Environmental Health Foundation became the latest partner to join hands with the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the Department of Environmental Health Services (D.E.H.S.) in the battle against littering, by donating thousands of vehicular litter bags to health and environment officials.
The bio-degradable bags were “specifically designed” by members of the Foundation and will be distributed to drivers island-wide for use in their vehicles. The programme is part of the ministry’s overall strategy to help keep The Bahamas clean by among other measures, discouraging people from illegally dumping and throwing litter onto the streets and the verges.
Minister of Health and Social Development, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis said many drivers and their passengers can still be observed throwing garbage out of their vehicles and onto the streets and verges of New Providence, despite the negative impact such practices have on the environment.
“This unsatisfactory practice adds to the litter volume which creates blight and negatively impacts the aesthetics of our environment,” Dr. Minnis said. “The donation of the plastic garbage bags by the principals of the Ethan Bain Foundation, like other private-sector entities – serves to further promote the need for such partnerships to combat the serious environmental problems we are faced with in our country in general and our urban areas in particular.”
The Minister said there can be no denying the correlation between clean environments and healthy living. He said residents in New Providence and the entire Bahamas have a “God-given” responsibility to keep the environment clean and that it is therefore incumbent upon each individual to take responsibility, “and do his or her part toward this end.”
Dr. Minnis said one of the greatest complaints of visitors to The Bahamas is the “unhealthiness” of the environment.
“As we know, the Tourism industry forms 60 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product and provides more than 70 per cent of the jobs in the country through related industry and so it is important that we keep the island clean,” he said.
“Then of course, The Bahamas is a coastal area and so whatever we do in the environment affects the marine life and will eventually get into the food chain, and the negative results from those actions will be registered at the hospitals and healthcare facilities in terms of illnesses and food poisoning, etcetera.
“They have designed bags especially for the car so that you can dispose of all of the garbage that may have been compiled in the car, into the bag as opposed to throwing it in the streets.
“We have over 150,000 cars on the island and could you imagine the amount of garbage that can reach our streets, neighborhoods and verges if persons in each of those cars litter those areas?” Dr. Minnis asked.
Jacqueline Bain, Founder/Chairman of the Ethan S. Bain Environmental Health Foundation, said the Foundation was established with two objectives in mind: a memorial scholarship foundation to assist students and professionals studying and working in the field of environmental health in The Bahamas, and a means of “keeping Ethan’s spirit and love for The Bahamas’ environment alive.”
“Through the Foundation, students and professionals can begin or continue their work in the environmental health sciences while helping The Bahamas to keep its islands clean and continue to be a desirable place for visitors to the country,” Mrs. Bain said.
“The Bahamas is extremely dependent on the tourism trade and as a result, it is vital for us to maintain clean and safe environments in order to have our economy remain competitive in this ever-increasing field. We believe that participation in selected environmental projects, for example, beautification, anti-litter and stray dogs campaigns, are appropriate ways of keeping Ethan’s memory alive while maintaining his desire to keep The Bahamas’ environment pristine.
“We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity for the Foundation to partner with the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the Department of Environmental Health Services by providing vehicular litter bags for distribution to the public in conjunction with the ministry’s New Providence Zoning Project. We further wish to send the message that a clean Bahamas begins with each one of us,” Mrs. Bain added.