Agreement signed to tackle single-use plastics in Saba | THE DAILY HERALD

State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven (left) and Island Governor Jonathan Johnson signed the declaration of intent to phase out single-use plastic products in Saba.

SABA–The public entity Saba, represented by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, and State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management signed a declaration of intent on Monday, July 15, to phase out single-use plastics in Saba, starting next year.

The objective of the agreement, which was signed at the Government Administration Building in The Bottom during Van Veldhoven’s visit to Saba, is to reduce littering on the island as a result of single-use plastics and to limit the adverse consequences of these plastic products on the environment.

These single-use plastics include polystyrene (Styrofoam) food containers as well as plastic bags, cutlery, plates, cups and straws.

According to the agreement, Saba will draft a plan in 2019 to facilitate the phasing out of single-use plastic products. The public entity will be in charge of the execution of this plan, which takes effect in 2020.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management will make (legal) expertise available to Saba to draft this plan and associated legislation, as well as expertise in the area of behavioural change and communication to reduce the use of single-use plastics. The Ministry will make 40,000 euros available for the drafting and execution of this plan.

Plastic littering is a universal problem and leads to large accumulations of plastics in the ocean, among other things. Single-use plastics that are imported to Saba are an important source of littering. Plastic bags and polystyrene food containers that end up in the hills and in the sea cause a threat to the natural environment and marine life.

Johnson called the signing of the declaration of intent an “important first step” to get rid of single-use plastic products. Van Veldhoven said she was “very happy” with the accord.

“Plastic should not be littering our beaches and polluting our oceans. It should be recycled and not end up in the environment. Saba has taken the courageous step to stop the use of single-use plastics. Together with the public entity Saba, we will strive to end single-use plastics,” Van Veldhoven said.

In September 2018 Saba’s Island Council unanimously adopted a motion requesting the Executive Council to start the trajectory to ban single-use plastics. The motion called for consultations with stakeholders and developing legislation that will minimise, and eliminate where possible, the importation, distribution, sale and use of these products.

Once operational, the new water bottling plant just outside St. John’s will also help to reduce plastics. Built with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the water bottling plant, to be called “Saba Splash,” will produce water in reusable bottles and limit the importation of plastic water bottles.

At Monday’s signing ceremony, Commissioner Bruce Zagers mentioned the “Keep Saba Clean” island-wide clean-up campaign that was concluded on July 13. During this four-week campaign, enthusiastic volunteers cleaned the four villages and surrounding areas.

Source: The Daily Herald