FREEPORT, Bahamas, March 15, 2018 – Waterkeepers Bahamas is on a mission to educate the entire population about the importance of clean water. The latest partner in this effort is the Sigma Beta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and members volunteered to take part in one of the environmental group’s groundbreaking water-monitoring programs on Grand Bahama.
One of Alpha Phi Alpha’s aims is providing service and advocacy to communities. Helping ensure that Grand Bahamians have drinkable, swimmable water is seen a way to fulfil this objective. As part of the training, fraternity brothers were briefed on beach monitoring; beach safety; public education and the importance of clean water for communities.
“Waterkeepers Bahamas is one of over 300 members and affiliates of the Waterkeeper® Alliance, and is focused on promoting waters that are swimmable, fishable and drinkable,” said Rashema Ingraham, WB Executive Director. “While most of our work involving monitoring and reporting is very serious, we also want to build awareness on the importance of clean water and its impact on human health and the vitality of the ecosystems around it.”
Ingraham is part of a team that tests water at seventeen (17) public beaches on Bimini, Grand Bahama and western New Providence, on a regular basis. In addition to monitoring water quality, the organisation hosts a number of educational and community projects, including Splash Mania, a first-of-its-kind event with kayak races, paddle-board competition, kiddie games, beach volleyball and a full slate of water-related activities.
Kevin Turnquest Jr., Treasurer of Sigma Beta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, called the water monitoring experience “amazing”. He said:
“It served as a great display of the levels of bacteria typically found in our waters, on a national and international scale and how we rank in proportion to them. These are things we usually think about in an abstract sense, but to actually see it and see the process was very cool.”
The volunteer water-monitoring program was introduced to the public last year and has attracted several groups. The brothers of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity have only helped to extend Waterkeeper’s service to the community.
Explaining how this volunteer program can offer a greater appreciation for our environment and the roles that unseen toxins play, Turnquest said, “It can be a wonderful teaching experience particularly with young students to stimulate interest in the scientific and research oriented fields.”
The water monitoring program is a partnership between Waterkeepers Bahamas and an international organization called Swim Guide, which maintains up-to-date beach and water condition reports on 7,000 beaches around the world. Reports are available at SwimGuide.org.
Inspect.jpg – Wentworth Donaldson inspects a water sample
Collect.jpg – Fraternity brothers Brett Jones and Kevin Turnquest II, collect water samples with a little help from a canine friend at Xanadu Beach.
Refractometer.jpg – Jhirmal Greene uses a refractometer to test the salinity of the water sample.
Members.jpg – Members of the Sigma Beta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity with Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director, Rashema Ingraham