PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs has given the Department of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations BAK a pat on the back for its initiative to reduce single-use plastic and Styrofoam.
The issues caused by single-use plastic and Styrofoam are increasingly being discussed as they continue to be topics of extreme concern for government and the private sector, she said in a press release. For this reason, BAK brought forward an initiative to execute a pilot project for the reduction of single-use plastic items and Styrofoam. The project began with a communication plan to inform and sensitise the public and will continue to the end of the 2020 Carnival season.
As the primary governmental entity tasked with reporting progress made towards 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 the Sustainable Development Goals as it aims to alleviate marine debris and 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 Carnival Village during this time.
Jacobs said she is “very proud” to enter as Minister of General Affairs and be updated by BAK. She applauded 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 minimise pollution and to safeguard our environment, said Jacobs.
As part of the project and to involve the community, representatives of the Ministries of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI and of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) were consulted, as well as key external stakeholders, such as St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF), Waste2Work, Nature Foundation and local distributors.
The committee will attempt to secure discounted rates with some of the main distributors as an incentive for 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 Carnival Village, as well as along 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,” Jacobs said.