PHILIPSBURG–Several local environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on Monday submitted a letter to Members of Parliament (MPs) in support of the proposed law banning single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam. The draft law was proposed by MP Sarah Wescot-Williams of United Democrats (UD).
“The organisations active in the environmental sector in St. Maarten would like to urge the Members of Parliament to vote in favour of the proposed legislation to ban single-use plastics in the upcoming public session of Parliament,” according to a press release issued by St. Maarten Nature Foundation on Monday.
The letter was signed by St. Maarten Nature Foundation, Green initiatives SXM Collaboration, WasteFactory, Waste2Work, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) Foundation, Freegan Food Foundation, Green SXM, Greenbox, Spaceless Gardens and St. Maarten Pride Foundation.
“For several years the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and along the way, numerous other foundations have joined the effort of encouraging residents and government to ban single-use plastics due to the tremendous impacts [it has – Ed.] on St. Maarten’s environment, nature and marine life.
“Recently, many Caribbean islands surrounding St. Maarten have already banned or announced a ban on single-use plastics. However, until today St. Maarten stays behind. It is time to take steps to protect our environment and prevent further deterioration of our natural habitats and marine life due to littered single-use plastics.
“We hope our collaborative support in legislation to ban single-use plastics will assist in a positive outcome and will lead to the first ban on several single-use plastic items in St. Maarten,” said St. Maarten Nature Foundation Manager Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
“Single-use plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental catastrophes of this generation and these plastics are abundantly littered on St. Maarten. Single-use plastics are also a major contributor to the current situation at the Philipsburg landfill … A ban on single-use plastic is needed in order to preserve the natural environment for generations to come and preserve the health of our people,” according to the press release.
“We hope that the signatures of the environmental non-profit organisations, together with the signatures of the general public, show the unwavering support of our community towards this ban,” said Green Initiatives SXM Collaboration Founder Nina Bijnsdorp.
Along with the support letter, a recent update of the petition “Less Plastic, More SXM!” was submitted to Parliament. As of Monday, a total of 6,890 persons have signed the petition. Persons can still sign the petition by finding it on website
St. Maarten Nature Foundation estimates that Dutch St. Maarten uses more than 1.4 billion plastic straws per year.
“A lot of our single-use plastics arrive in our environment due to littering and poor garbage disposal, eventually ending up in the ocean as wind and rain takes it there … St. Maarten just cannot handle this much single-use plastic waste. Our dump is already overfull; a single-use plastic ban will reduce a large part of St. Maarten’s environmental problems,” said St. Maarten Nature Foundation.