The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation has again expressed concern regarding the way beaches, beach access and beach recreation have been managed in the country. The Foundation has had to respond several times to issues affecting beaches on the island ranging from beach construction, heavy equipment and other vehicles driving and parking on the beaches, structures such as fences and buildings being built, significant amount of trash being left on beaches, and beach access being restricted.
“Over the past few months we have again been continuously faced with having to respond to issues occurring on the beaches. We would like to 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. Unsustainable activities such as beach construction, driving on beaches and littering on beaches not only has significant environmental effects but also affects the economy and the image of Sint Maarten as we are trying to rebuild, ” stated Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.
Bervoets continued by stating that the protection, conservation and proper management of beaches should be established in law, “The Nature Foundation would like to again call on Parliament to come with concrete legislation on how beaches should be managed and protected in terms of their ecological and economic importance. 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, the unrestrained placement of beach chairs, and beach construction are fundamental issues hampering the sustainable use of one of our greatest natural assets and is hampering our recovery post hurricane Irma,” concluded Bervoets. Lately, the Nature Foundation has been fielding significant complaints about businesses not allowing residents to place personal affects at locations they deem as ‘theirs’ to place beach chairs and umbrellas.
The Nature Foundation is again calling for the structured management of the country’s beaches, protecting and managing the resource sustainably in order to increase and support the recovery of Sint Maarten.