80.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, May 19, 2024


To the Source:
Last night when I swam at Magens Bay, I was reminded of the Dr. Beach article in the Source ["Why V.I. isn't on 'America's Top Beaches' list"]. I hope he leaves his snorkel gear at home, as the beach is so trashed in and out of the water. It is a sad commentary of how we protect our resources and would flunk his scrutiny badly.
At the depth that I swim from end to end, about 8 to 10 feet, straight in my sight of vision I could have counted no fewer than 50 pieces of trash — cans, bottles, plastic cups, plastic plates, lots of napkins, on occasion the sanitary type as well, forks, knives, plastic bags, and yesterday even a condom. Sometimes there's money, although "Diving for Dollars," my favorite water sport, has been Spartan theses days (most likely given the rough economic times we Virgin Islanders are experiencing).
Things will get a lot rougher if we don't start to care, educate ourselves about pollution and protect our environment. On Sunday, I was on Anegada, and I noticed that sea life there was totally undisturbed. A huge turtle at hand's reach was not threatened by my presence, nor were fish of every kind. On the rare occasions when I spot turtles at Magens, they flee at once, having developed a respectable fear of man and pollution. Frankly, I would do the same.
Magens should no longer be allowed as a fishing ground. Tourists come to see marine life, and we do all we can to deplete the last living animal there. A lifeguard told me that last week one group of children who came there brought 20 starfish out of the bay and laid them out on a picnic table to dry. This was the second time this happened in a week, he said, and he had difficulty explaining to the youngsters why the creatures should be returned to the sea.
Our population has developed a complacency that we have "one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world." Well, that may have been so 30-plus years ago when the article in The National Geographic was written. Magens, like Coki and our other public beaches, has suffered badly over the years, and tourists will soon head to cleaner, undisturbed beaches instead of ours. What am I talking about? They are already doing so.
Jens-Peter Kemmler
St. Thomas

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