Tuesday 23 April, 2019

Shark River farmers forced to clean up garbage, faecal matter

Farmers who volunteer to tidy up the grounds at Shark River along the country's North Coast have been forced to clean up piles of garbage and even faecal matter left behind by visitors.

Jose Marcano, who takes part in a local gayap in the area, said he and other farmers used tools given to them by the community for their farms to help tidy up the area, in an effort to give back to their community.

Marcano told LoopTT that the farmers had no problems cleaning up in years past as the garbage was minimal, however, with more and more people coming to the site, the garbage is accumulating faster than they can clean it up.

Marcano also related times when he found piles of human faecal matter at the site.

“I am totally fed up with these visitors that come to Shark River. The history of Shark River is that we are a farmers group registered with community development.”

“We applied for tools for community development and they gave us two weed whackers and other items to do our gayap work with agriculture. So we go to each others’ estates and share our labour and tools, that is gayap.”

“We decided we should give back to our community and with the amount of people who come to Shark River, we used to clean up. The place was bushy and we decided to clean it to give back to the community.”

“Now, the visitors coming and enjoying where we cleaning and leaving their rubbish like there’s a garbage truck on the riverbed to pick up everything.”

“They leave food - duck, chicken, garbage bags, there are stray dogs who burst the bags and leave everything in a mess.”

“There’s no toilet, and sometimes people would make a makeshift toilet or they do something in the bushes.”

Marcano said he contracted ringworm on his face, chest and back as a result of cleaning up the mess left behind by others and had to visit a doctor.

(Photo: Bathrooms under construction at Shark River. Photo courtesy Jose Marcano.)

He said they have put an entry fee in order to pay for maintenance of the area, as well as materials for toilets which they are still constructing.

“We put a chain and started to charge $50 to come and some people find that is good. We want to build a facility but we have a lack of funds to get everything finished. We have the lock, doors, we have the toilets etc.”

“What we also need is for WASA to get us a water supply. We are trying to make it a proper facility where people can come and enjoy it, and keep it clean.”

He said as the area is on private property he also spoke to the owner to arrange for lights and facilities.

This is community work, we don’t get paid for doing this, and visitors should take it into consideration. Leave it clean so that somebody else could come and enjoy. But if you leave your garbage and go, how can others enjoy it?”

(Photo: Shark River, courtesy Jose Marcano.)

Marcano is asking for anyone who can assist with the completion of the toilets to please help them.

“We are looking to get more attention so that people can realise what is happening and help sponsor to help with materials etc. We would appreciate it. We are also trying to help create jobs for this community. For example, when we get toilets we will need janitors to clean the toilets, things like that. We want to develop this area properly.”

“The cost of gas has gone up, other materials like garbage bags etc. all these things have increased. We want to involve young people to help take care of the grounds, and we will have to pay WASA, pay the light bill, all these things. But if we do this it will be a much better facility for everyone if we can get the help we need,” he said.

Marcano, who is also a local tour guide for the area, said the community would be grateful for any assistance given.

“We would be grateful for any donations, we are happy to show a sign with our sponsors so everyone can know about their support,” he said.

Anyone willing to assist can contact Marcano on 335-1432.   

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