Nature Foundation Survey Finds Community Waiting on Government to Enact Plastic Bag Ban

Litter at the Over the Bank Area in Philipsburg - Chantal Mondelice photo

The Nature Foundation St Maarten Reduce and Reuse intern Chantal Mondelice conducted a research-based questionnaire among businesses and citizens in Philipsburg about their single-use plastic usage and thoughts on the issue. Most citizens and businesses stressed the importance of having laws put in place to prevent situations such as unnecessary littering from happening.

The solution offered by many, was to get the government to ban single use plastics; to introduce alternatives to single-use plastics to businesses and citizens such as paper bags or reusable bags; to introduce laws against those who are littering or who are not recycling the right way; and to use other countries which have banned single use plastics as an example and motivation for enacting the same policies and legislation here.

On Monday the 11th and 12thof March 2019, Nature Foundation Reduce and Reuse Intern Chantal Mondelice conducted an in the field research amongst the businesses and citizens of St. Maarten. Questionnaires were distributed to different businesses on St. Maarten to find out their thoughts of plastic usage on the island, and what would be the best solution to making the island a single-use plastic free environment.

A total of 10 business owners, three employees and one normal citizen were interviewed. Most of the business owners ignored their use of plastic bottles while three employees from other business responded that more than 45 to 100 bottles are being sold per month at their establishment. “The answers which were being given seemed like an understatement and many respondents said that nothing is currently being done about single-use plastics.. Thirteen out of Fourteen people responded that St. Maarten is not being educated enough about the environment.

The majority of interviewed people heard already about other islands such as Haiti, Jamaican and Dominica which have already banned single use plastics and they are wondering what is taking St. Maarten so long to join the movement!

The research concludes that the citizens and business are aware of the situation on St. Maarten but many of them choose to still use single-use plastics as the costs are lower than using biodegradable alternatives. Most businesses do not feel accountable for the impacts of using single-use plastics, as the usage is legal, and are not willing to change by themselves.  Some businesses gave great responses and solutions regarding lowering single-use plastics, but are still not willing to take the responsibility of making the change until the government officially bans single-use plastics.

Remember  “Nature is our Future”.

Litter at the Over the Bank Area in Philipburg- Chantal Mondelice photo