COLE BAY–Nature Foundation has issued a public call to Parliament to come with concrete legislation on how beaches should be managed and protected in terms of their ecological and economic importance to the country.
The Foundation also advocates a structured management plan for the beaches, protecting and managing the resource sustainably to increase and support the recovery efforts.
Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets said in a press statement: “The protection, conservation and proper management of beaches should be established in law. … There is, or was, a Beach Policy in place, but for all intents and purposes this policy is non-functioning or not being taken into consideration.”
“Poor trash pick-up, parking and driving on beaches, and beach construction are fundamental issues hampering the sustainable use of one of our greatest natural assets and hampering our recovery post-Hurricane Irma,” he pointed out.
Unsustainable activities such as beach construction, driving on beaches and littering on beaches not only have significant environmental effects, but also affect the economy and the image of St. Maarten as rebuilding post-Irma continues, Bervoets said.
The Foundation has had to respond several times to issues affecting beaches ranging from beach construction, heavy equipment and other vehicles driving and parking on the beaches, structures such as fences being built, significant amounts of trash being left on beaches, and beach access being restricted.
“Over the past few months we have constantly been faced with having to respond to issues occurring on the beaches. We remind both the public and decision makers that beaches are our most important natural resource and all must be done to protect and sustainably develop this resource,” said Bervoets.