PHILIPSBURG:--- The issues caused by “Single-use plastic” and Styrofoam are increasingly being discussed as they continue to be topics of extreme concern for both the government of St. Maarten and the Private Sector.
For this reason, the Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) came with an initiative to execute a pilot project for the reduction of single-use plastic items and Styrofoam. The project begins with a communication plan to inform and sensitize the public and will continue on, to the end of 2020 Carnival season.
As the primary governmental entity tasked with the reporting of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, BAK has taken the initiative to lead the inter-ministerial workgroup for single-use plastic. Reducing the use of single-use plastic is directly related to Sustainable Development Goals as it aims to alleviate marine debris, land pollution, enhancing the environment and the well-being of mankind.
The project will target the reduction of single-use plastic and Styrofoam items, specifically during the months of February, March, April and May 2020. The intention is to limit or reduce the use of single-use plastic in and around the carnival village, during this time.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated that she was very proud to enter as Minister of General Affairs and be updated by the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK). She applauded the Department Head Angelique Gumbs and the Department for the initiative.
“We must be mindful of the way in which we dispose of our (plastic) waste. I encourage the community to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible to minimize pollution and to safeguard our environment, said Prime Minister Jacobs.
As part of the project and to involve the community, representatives from VROMI and TEATT were consulted, as well as key external stakeholders, such as the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation, Waste2Work, the Nature Foundation, and local distributors.
Further, the committee will attempt to secure discounted rates with some of the main distributors, as an incentive for the booth holders to purchase alternate products instead of single-use plastic items. In addition, large recycling bins also need to be placed in and around the Carnival Village as well as along the Walter J.A. Nisbeth Road (Pondfill).
“These initiatives will safeguard and help to influence a culture of recycling, reusing and reducing among St. Maarten citizens, vendors, food wholesalers, retailers, hotels and restaurants” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs