The Re-greening SXM project (an initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross and the Nature Foundation SXM) collaborated with SXM A.C.T.I.O.N and the St. Maarten Youth Brigade to organize its first monthly community clean-up in the Madame Estate and Arch Road community last weekend. A group of over twenty-five volunteers came out to give back to our environment and help build environmental resilience, by spending the morning cleaning up the garbage found along the roadside in these communities. The group was very motivated, together they collected approximately 425 pounds of trash including; beer bottles, cans, cigarette packs, bottle covers, sheets of metal zinc, wood, full bags of trash from homes, and the infamous single-use plastics
“It was shocking to see how much garbage can be found on the roadsides of such small communities yet refreshing to know that a good amount of it was removed from the environment. This clean-up would not have been possible without all our volunteers, S.X.M. Action, and the St. Maarten Youth Brigade who came out and made sure everyone was safe by keeping safe distances between volunteers and fast traffic. We are looking forward to seeing many more volunteers at our next clean-up on August 22nd on Illidge road. Also, we urge the public to dispose of trash properly and aid in taking care of our environment, our home!” said Ernika van Putten Re-greening SXM Project Leader.
Volunteers learned that our communities are in dire need of trash removal, as trash can build quickly with improper disposal, and how our environment can be seriously impacted by this garbage.
“I commend the volunteers that came out and joined the clean-up campaign, together we impact our Nation. Always remember to respect yourself, respect others and respect your community, your trash is on the Earth’s face. Put your litter in the Bin!” Said Ravina Claudius, President of SXM A.C.T.I.O.N.
Each volunteer was urged to wear their mask as they see fit and practice social distancing in order to comply with current standards. In addition, sanitary precautions were taken, gloves and trash bags were provided to each volunteer. Together in small groups these volunteers picked up the garbage that is often left behind by official road-side cleaners due to the restricted areas they attend to.
“On behalf of the St. Maarten Youth Brigade we would like to thank the Re-greening SXM team on their swift cooperation and coordination in executing this event. In this way, the St. Maarten Youth Brigade was able to ensure that proper measures were considered. This was done by applying their knowledge from training in maintaining a safe distance between traffic and the participants who volunteered for the clean-up. We look forward to being of service in future clean-ups,” said Michel Peterson, St. Maarten Youth Brigade Coordinator.
The St. Maarten Youth Brigade assists in the development of youngsters in the social, economic, cultural and governmental areas by offering integral educational programs. These programs are meant to create and strengthen the awareness of their basic rights and sense of duty in order to stimulate active and effective participation of youngsters in the development of our society.
The organizations would like to encourage the public to stay tuned for the monthly upcoming clean-up opportunities. Citizens of each community are also urged to join in the continuous clean-ups as we will be coming to your area soon. The next community clean-up will be held on August 22nd, 2020, 7:30 a.m. on the Illidge Road and Zagersgut Road communities, the meeting point will be in Van Dorp parking lot near Laser 101 radio station. To sign up to volunteer for this project you can visit naturefoundationsxm.org/preservation/regreening-st-maarten/ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.