By Kimani Wiseman
Treasures can come in different form. They can be in the form of material things. For example gold, diamond, or pearls, or even something that is playing a special role in our lives. Sand can be classified as a treasure because of the marvellous job it is doing in the environment.
Sand is formed when rocks breakdown from weathering and eroding over thousands and even millions of years. Starting from thousands of miles from the ocean, rocks slowly travel down rivers and streams, constantly breaking down along the way. Once they make it to the ocean, they further erode from constant action of waves and tides. Sand is deposited on the coast by waves.
Sand is very important at the beach. They absorb the impact of storm surge and high waves, preventing or delaying flooding of inland areas and damage to inland structures. Climate change is already causing stronger and more frequent storms and hurricanes, hence the sand that you see at the beach is very important. Without it, many lives would be lost and properties would be destroyed during a storm or hurricane.
Sand is a habitat for a variety of species like crabs, and sea turtles. For example, turtles, such as the olive ridley sea turtle, use the sand at the beach to dig their nest and lay their eggs. The turtles cover their eggs with sand, to protect them from predators. The sand also helps to incubate the eggs and the temperature of the sand determines the gender of baby sea turtles, with cooler sand producing more males and warmer sand producing more females. Without sand, sea turtles would be extinct.
Sand displays the aesthetic beauty of beaches and contributes to the ecotourism of countries. This is why when tourists arrive in the Caribbean, they would lie down in the sand at the beach, and enjoy the golden sunshine.
If you look carefully around the environment, there are other treasures that are visible. The ocean provides us with an abundance of seafood, that is a treasure. The water you get when you turn on your pipe, that is a treasure. Trees provide us with oxygen that is a treasure.
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we do not have natural resources such as oil, but we are blessed with all these treasures. We have black sandy beaches, which are very unique, clean potable water in our pipes. Have a look in Africa and many other countries across the globe and you would see how polluted their water is. We are also blessed with lush green vegetation. We have to be very thankful for all these treasures and be very careful not to over exploit these treasures, or else they would disappear in the blink of an eye.