We’ve just returned from the BVI, where the BVI Spring Regatta ran Clean Regattas for their fourth year. It’s been a busy few weeks for us in the Caribbean, and we’ve learned a lot about the challenges faced by these islands, but also the many efforts that are being taken to help keep the marine environment pristine. Nowhere have these efforts been more apparent and impressive than in the past couple days at the BVI Spring Regatta. Because of their hard work, the BVI Spring Regatta was the first ever in the Caribbean to earn a Gold Clean Regattas Certification.
One of the highlights of this event was the collaboration between the local non-profit GreenVI and the race organizers. Bottles used at last year’s regatta were recycled by GreenVI and turned into the stunning trophies that were given this year. Like the other Caribbean islands we’ve been working on lately, the BVI have no official recycling program. However, GreenVI’s glass studio has begun this process in the BVI by taking glass bottles used around the island and turning them into pieces of art and landscaping material.
These recycled trophies were just a part of all that the BVI Spring Regatta did on the way to achieving goals. Other best practices included:
- Distributing reusable water bottles to race participants and placing water stations throughout the venue
- The Green Rangers, a large and enthusiastic green team made up of local youth, keeping the event site free of debris
- Working with Green VI to recycle glass and aluminum
- Placing oil spill kits in all motorized vessels
- Electronic registration systems and TV screens to display race results
- Biodegradable cups at the bar
- Notice to participants emphasizing gray water reduction, conducting maintenance in contained locations, not cleaning hulls in sensitive harbor areas and using shore facilities to prevent blackwater discharge
- Food vendors collected food waste in buckets to be given to local pigs
- Non-toxic cleaning products used and promoted to competitors
We’d like to thank the Regatta Committee, GreenVI and the BVI Tourist Board for all their hard work and hospitality.