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Article published July 12. 2010 06:47AM
'To neglect something so beautiful breaks my heart'::Elbow Beach Hotel worker goes beyond his duties by cleaning public side of the beach

Elbow Beach Hotel worker goes beyond his duties by cleaning public side of the beach

By Elizabeth Roberts

A dedicated hotel worker is so appalled by the trash on a public beach that he's going above the call of duty to tidy it.

Richard Warner is beach supervisor at the Elbow Beach, where he's responsible for keeping their private section of sand pristine. However, he has also been sweeping the public section of litter too and it yielded three large bags full of trash on Thursday alone.

"What I'm concerned about is taking care of our natural resources. This is about the third time I've gone over my bounds to clean the public side of the beach," he explained on Friday. The beach is something precious. We need to take care of our natural things that attract our tourists."

Mr. Warner said his employer would prefer he just sticks to the private section of the beach, because it costs them in diesel fuel when he uses his tractor to clean the rest. But he said until Government steps in to make sure the beach stays litter-free, then he will carry on patrolling that section too.

"There are only two trash cans on the public side and they're dirty. I went there after the July 4 celebrations and there was trash around them.

"I would like to know who is responsible for leaving it, because I want to go and dump it in front of the people who should be picking it up. To neglect something so beautiful to ourselves as a society and our culture breaks my heart," said Mr. Warner, who was born in Bermuda but spent much of his adult life in California. "I'm going to carry on cleaning it because I love our Island too much."

Anne Hyde, executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful, commended him for his dedication.

"There is a noticeable increase in roadside litter and litter being left in parks and on the beaches. Unfortunately some people think it's OK to leave their trash on the ground and that someone else who is paid will pick up behind them. This is simply not true particularly due to budget cuts and the escalating costs of labour," she said.

"The beach is shared by Coco Reef, Elbow Beach Hotel, Coral Beach Club and the Parks Department who oversee the public beach at Elbow. It is one of the most beautiful locations on the Island and no one should be marring its beauty. Many people are surprised to learn that the 'public beach' is only as wide as the Tribe Road leading down to it.

"The public have been enjoying a much wider 'public beach' at the kindness of the neighbouring Coral Beach Club and Elbow Beach Hotel for many years [as] the property boundaries are not clear. The point is that no matter which part of the beach you are on, there should be zero tolerance for litter. Each person is responsible to 'pack in and pack out' and whatever you bring onto the sand you should take off when you leave."

A spokesman for the Department of Parks said: "The Department of Parks has a trash crew for the east and one for the west. During the summer the crew picks up trash every day. However, people use the beach in the evenings as well, and if the crews start in the west at Mangrove Bay in Somerset, it will be a few hours into the day before they get to Elbow Beach.

"A lot of the trash is generated from the hotel guests and visitors to the entire beach both Coral Beach Club and Elbow Beach Hotel and it is placed in or next to our barrels. The Government-owned portion of Elbow Beach is only as wide as the tribe road that accesses the beach and when things are busy on the Government-owned strip the rangers will also go down to empty the barrels. The department also asks for the public's cooperation in placing their garbage in the bins, so that the park is left in a pristine state ready for their next visit."