As S.V. TravelEdge spent several days at the Antigua harbour and around its islands, this generated considerable awareness within its proud community. Some of the local people we met were already well aware of the work and aims of eXXpedition, whilst others were inquisitive and were hoping to gather more insight from us, as eXXpediton representatives on the island.

The land survey was an opportunity for us to show the locals what we do, taking action by surveying several areas of the island as part of the Circularity Assessment Protocol work being carried out by Professor Jenna Jambeck and her team at the University of Georgia. The part of the research we were carrying outlooks into waste leakage within the waste stream. This involves us walking 3 x 100m transects and surveying the litter, evidence of waste management methods and gathering information from local so we can help to establish how litter is making its way into the environment.   eXXpeditionPhoto credit: Emma Feggetter & eXXpedition

Sadly, our research highlighted the challenge faced by this beautiful island nation. Litter was everywhere to be seen; along the roads, stuck in hedges, covered by sand and in gutters. On our way we were met by several locals inquiring and encouraging us in our endeavour. 

A shop-keeper (now kindly referred to on the boat as ‘Watermelon Lady’) is the owner of a grocery store. She was very aware of the environment around us and proud to sell organic food. When she found out everything about eXXpedition and was able to share her own sense of pride and optimism for the future of the island, she offered us fruits as a sign of encouragement for our ongoing epic adventure and goodwill for what we are doing for the community and the world. These cool fruits were much appreciated in the Caribbean sun!

Cars stopped along the road, waving at us, asking questions, referring to us as ‘the boat ladies’ or ‘plastic ladies’ as we walked along steaming hot roads and proudly carrying our eXXpedition debris bags. 

eXXpeditionPhoto credit: Rachel O’Callaghan & eXXpedition

Rastaman Correy, wanted to see what we had collected in our bags and was keen to understand how Antigua ranked as part of our survey. Too soon to tell but he was very hopeful that the attitude of his countrymen and women, and the ban on some types of plastics in the island would place Antigua in a good position.

We learnt more about the challenges that Antigua faces through these conversations, and our visit to the waste disposal site. The one conversation which concerned us the most was when we were told that some cruise liners tip their waste offshore to avoid the tipping fees incurred when using the waste disposal landfill site on land.  A huge concern. Even with this in mind, our conversations with locals were overridingly positive about Antigua’s future and people were tied together by the fact that they were so proud of their beautiful island and full of hope for its future. 

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