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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


Students taking part in the Anti-Litter and Beautification Commission's "Clean and Preen" summer program have started a clean up of Benner Bay on the southeastern end of St. Thomas.
The students, in their recognizable green t-shirts, will be seen in the area until July 31. They have already removed more than 300 bags of debris including, plastic containers, bottles, batteries, oil containers and galvanized aluminum. According to a release from Anti-litter and Beautification car engines, mattresses, tires and freezers have also been removed.
The larger items that are found will be logged, tabulated and passed onto the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
The bay has been declared an area of particular concern by the DPNR and was the subject of a Senate committee hearing in December 1999. It is included as one of the government's marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, but was called "sad and embarrassing" by Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, chair of the Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection, who had called the meeting.
Donastorg said the area was full of uncontrolled sewage, rotting furniture, empty steel drums and other debris.
DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett said at that time it would take a long time to effect a clean-up and would cost about $100,000.
Anti-litter and Beautification said the "Clean and Preen" project at Benner Bay is being partially funded by DPNR.
Before clean up began, the students toured the lagoon in kayaks with Virgin Islands Ecotours where they learned about the value of the area as a nursery for young fish and other marine life.
The Ecotours staff put an emphasis on the lagoon as a vital part of the environment, and essential to the success of many islands fisherman.

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