The Nature Foundation St. Maarten recently has strengthened their collaboration with international partners for the “In-No-Plastic” Project and had the opportunity to travel to Europe to learn from several different partners. The partners reside in Italy, Croatia, Netherlands, and England, where the Foundation was able to discuss and learn new methods, systems, successes and challenges the partners faced while implanting the “In-No-Plastic” project in their areas. These methods, and systems will be implemented in the Nature Foundation coastal clean-ups and other In-No-Plastic project operations.
Starting in Venice, Italy, the Nature Foundation participated in a large-scale clean-up with Venice Lagoon Plastic Free, a fellow partner on the “In-No-Plastic” Project. This event took place over 2 days in honor of World Clean-Up Day 2021. There was more than 800kgs of marine litter collected in the clean-up organized by Venice Lagoon Plastic Free. During the event Nature Foundation project coordinator Alice Manley was introduced to the data collection process of the project which will be adapted and implemented in future events on St. Maarten.
Following the work in Venice, Manley travelled to Krk, Croatia to work with In-No-Plastic partners Ponikve, a waste collection and organization company. During the time in Krk, the Nature Foundation met with the partners to discuss their methods and the application of the project in the area. During several events in Croatia Manley was able to receive hands on introduction and training in data input, analysis, education, and outreach efforts that have been found successful by the staff of Ponikve.
“Being given the opportunity to represent the Nature Foundation and St. Maarten and travel to Europe has been a huge beneficial aspect towards our work within this project. I have been able to meet and work alongside our partner organizations in this project and learn how they have established this project in their countries. The information we have collected will benefit the Nature Foundation and how we conduct clean-ups and other aspects of this project to reduce marine litter on the island,” stated project coordinator Alice Manley.
Shortly after the events in Krk, Manley continued to the Netherlands. There, the Nature Foundation met with three different project partners. This included BlueXPRT, the Project Mangers of “In-No-Plastic” and one of the leading partners of the collaboration. BlueXPRT founder, Ludwin Daal, grew up in St. Maarten and in support of the island strongly suggested St. Maarten and the Nature Foundation join as a contributing partner to the “In-No-Plastic” Project. This support has led to significant funding and opportunity for improvement regarding the plastic problem on St. Maarten.
The final partner the Nature Foundation met with was Thames21, based out of London, England. This organization is a leading environmental charity in the country, focused on efforts to keep the Thames River clean. Along with participating in hugely successful clean-up events and activities with the group, the foundation discussed overall project implementation. Members of the Thames21 team provided advice on challenges and successes seen by their organization as well as lines of communication and assistance in the actualization of the “In-No-Plastic” project on St. Maarten.
“The benefit of meeting with our European Partners in the “In-No-Plastic” Project is invaluable,” said the Nature Foundation. “The opportunity to speak with these successful organizations and agencies about their experiences so early on in our project will enable us to implement the program quickly and successfully, while avoiding challenges that our partners have already encountered. We are very excited to bring this project to fruition on St. Maarten and reduce the plastic waste that litters our environment.”
A consortium of 17 partners and 10 different countries in Europe and the Caribbean make up
the project. The Nature Foundation will be work alongside the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance
(DCNA), a partner participating in the In-No-Plastics project. InNoPlastic started October 2020 and is a three-year project funded with a 7.4 Million Euro grant from the EU H2020 research project, funded under the call “Pilot action for the removal of marine plastics and litter”, Topic ID: CE-FNR-09-2020 (Grant Agreement 101000612).
To learn more about this project, you can check out https://naturefoundationsxm.org/education/in-no-plastic-project/. You can also follow the Nature Foundation on social media to keep up to date with our work and learn when future clean-ups will occur. If you are interested in joining the Nature Foundation’s volunteer list to receive emails about volunteer opportunities, reach out to us at https://naturefoundationsxm.org/about-us/contact-us/.