On World Oceans Day, an international day that takes place annually on the 8th of June, the Nature Foundation presented the Foundation’s first edition of the Eco-Bracelet to the Minister of VROMI Egbert J. Doran. Wearing the Nature Foundation Eco-bracelet identifies you as an eco-warrior and symbolizes your commitment to a clean and sustainable St. Maarten. As an island nation, we depend on the health of our ocean and more than ever we need to protect these resources to secure survivability for the future.
Nature Foundation’s Manager Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern presented the Foundation’s Eco-Bracelet along with a plastic free and reef safe sunscreen ‘Raw Elements’ to the VROMI Minster on Monday in order to celebrate the importance of our ocean and marine life and to enhance and sustain the protection of our coral reefs. “In order to ensure coral reefs and marine life in the future, it is crucial to protect and conserve their habitats right now. Our coral reefs are highly threatened due to pollution, wastewater and nutrient input, diseases, hurricanes and rising ocean temperatures and on top also by chemical sunscreens. It is time that we panic about the health of our reefs, as coral reefs are of great importance to our tourist industry, the health of our fish stocks, sandy beaches, clarity of our waters and the protection from storms”.
For 2020, World Oceans Day is growing the global movement to call on world leaders to protect
30% of the world’s ocean by 2030 – a campaign called 30×30. By safeguarding at least 30% of
our ocean through a network of highly protected areas we can help ensure a healthy home for
both marine and human life. “Also in St. Maarten increased protection of our ocean is need, as daily plastics, trash, pollutants, chemical sunscreen and wastewater ends up in our ocean impacting and killing coral reefs, sea grass beds and marine life. By presenting the Eco-Bracelet to the Minister on this specific World Ocean day, we symbolize the importance of protecting and enhancing our nature, especially the ocean. We hope an increase of people will understand the importance of our ocean by decreasing pollution and committing to assist in protecting our ocean. Your first step can be wearing the Eco-Bracelet with proud as every bracelet purchased supports protecting and enhancing Sint Maarten’s natural environment, specifically the ocean” explained Meijer zu Schlochtern.
The Eco-bracelet is made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fabric, which is the primary material used for the production of water bottles around the world. Billions of PET bottles are discarded each year and a significant amount of them become littered in the natural environment, representing one of the biggest waste problems on Earth. The first edition of the St. Maarten Eco-bracelet displays the text “Nature is our Future SXM”, which is the slogan of the Nature Foundation, along with an outline of our beloved island. Each Eco-Bracelet includes a flyer explaining what it means to wear the bracelet, how you can continue to support the Nature Foundation and a map of Sint Maarten’s Marine Protected Area and dive sites.
Eco-bracelets can be ordered now on the Nature Foundation’s website; www.naturefoundationsxm.org, for a contributing donation of $10 one eco-bracelet will be provided, which directly supports the protection and enhancement of St. Maarten’s natural environment. To increase nature awareness among tourism, the assistance of the business sector is essential, therefore the Nature Foundation offers a retail option for businesses to reach the visitors of our island. Bracelet displays made from up-cycled materials by the Waste Factory will be provide for free by a retail order of 20 or more, for more information businesses interested in retail can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A number of studies have shown that sunscreen and certain individual components of sunscreen can have negative effects on corals and other marine organisms. For example, the chemical UV filters oxybenzone and octinoxate have been studied most intensively and negative effects have been described such as bleaching of corals, damage and deformation of coral larvae and damage to the DNA of corals and their reproductive success. The Nature Foundation recommends to use natural and mineral based sunscreens with “non-nanotized” zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (“non-nanotized” means the ingredients are 100 nanometers in diameter or more) such as the brands Raw Elements and Raw Love, which are already available on the island, as these are save for our coral reefs, environment and human skin.