St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): July has been designated "No Plastic Month" to raise awareness of the damage the proliferation of plastic products is inflicting on the environment and to encourage people to choose reusable material when shopping.
Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and chairperson of the sustainable destination council Dianille Taylor has described waste management as a major issue here just after launching the No Plastic Month Campaign on Saturday (July1). WINN asked her to make a personal appeal to the cause of reducing the use of plastic.
“One of the things that I want to remind people of is that plastics are useful, I will not tell anyone that they are not useful, what we have to be mindful of though, is that plastic takes more than a thousand years to break down, they are not biodegradable. Now when we have all of this building up it affects us and climate change contrary to what some people think, climate change is real and we see that in terms of the storms that are coming and the frequency and the intensity of the storms that we are experiencing of late. The droughts that we are experiencing all are attributed to climate change and some of these things can be attributed to the plastic that we’ve been using and are finding their way down into the marine environment and into our landfill and not being able to be broken down.”
Engineer at the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) Anya O'Flaherty told WINN some of the issues linked to the disposal of plastic.
“St Kitts isn’t engaged in separation, either at the source, that is the person generating the waste, or at destination i.e. disposal, the landfill. We don’t actually engage in any separation beyond, well this is green waste so we’ve got a section for that but your household waste is commingled, it’s always together and we deposit it together. So really it’s definitely an area of improvement but there are so many other things that we need to take care of before that, so this is one of the reasons why as a corporation, as a body responsible for solid waste management we push personal responsibility.”
WINN understands that one local supermarket chain has revealed that it imports close to 12 million plastic bags per year.