St. Maarten’s Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Present Support Letter to Parliament for the ban on Single-use Plastic Items Initiated by MP Sarah Wescot-Williams

Today, several environmental Non-Governmental Organizations, Non-Profit organizations and initiatives active in the environmental sector, presented a collaborative support letter to the members of parliament for the implementation of the ban on single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam initiated by Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams. The organizations active in the environmental sector on St. Maarten would like to urge the members of parliament to vote in favor for the proposed legislation to ban single-use plastics in the upcoming public session of Parliament. Nature Foundations St. Maarten, Green initiatives SXM Collaboration, WasteFactory, Waste2Work Foundation, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean, Freegan Food Foundation, Green SXM, Greenbox, Spaceless Gardens and the St. Maarten Pride Foundation have collaboratively showed their support and are looking forward to hearing about a fruitful continuation to implement the single-use plastic ban.

“For several years, the Nature Foundation St. Maarten and along the way numerous other Foundations have joined the effort of encouraging residents and government to ban single-use plastics, due to the tremendous impacts on St. Maarten’s environment, nature and marine life. Recently, many Caribbean islands surrounding St. Maarten have already banned or announced to ban single-use plastics, however until today Sint Maarten stays behind. It is time to take steps to protect our environment and prevent further deterioration of our natural habitats and marine life due to littered single-use plastics. We hope our collaborative support in the legislation to ban single-use plastics will assist in a positive outcome and will lead to the first ban on several single-use plastic items on St. Maarten” stated Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern Manager of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten.

Single-use plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental catastrophes of this generation and these plastics are abundantly littered on St. Maarten. Single-use plastics are also a major contributor to the current situation at the Philipsburg landfill. According to research conducted by the Nature Foundation St. Maarten, a single-use plastic ban would reduce pollution on St. Maarten beaches by almost 50%. A ban on single-use plastic is needed in order to preserve the natural environment for the generations to come and preserve the health of our people.

“We hope that these signatures of the environmental non-profit organizations, together with the signatures of the general public, show the unwavering support of our community towards this ban” confirmed Nina Bijnsdorp Founder of the Green Initiatives Collaboration. Along the support letter, a recent update of the petition ‘Less Plastic, More SXM!’ to show your support towards banning single-use plastics on Sint Maarten, has been presented to parliament. As of today, a total of 6890 signatures are collected in support of the ban, the public can also still show their support by signing the petition online at–mtBQyvx9XwEzzuMaRJbmkYf8b6I1E

St. Maarten uses a remarkable amount of single-use plastics every day, as plastic bags are given for free for every purchased item and plastic straws with any drink. Also, takeout food in Styrofoam is normal and very popular, this also includes plastic cutlery. Nature Foundation calculated that Dutch St. Maarten alone uses more than 1.4 billion plastic straws a year; straws are used for a few minutes and last forever in the environment. A lot of our single-use plastics arrives in our environment due to littering and poor garbage disposal, ending up eventually in the ocean as wind and rain takes it there. Besides, St. Maarten just cannot handle this much single-use plastic waste, our dump is already overfull, a single-use plastic ban will reduce a large part of St. Maarten’s environmental problems.

Photo caption: Nina Bijnsdorp of the Green Initiative Collaboration and Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten are presenting the collaborative support to ban single-use plastics to Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams.