MPC High School Students Learn about Impacts of Littering, how to Reduce Single-use Plastics and Clean-up Mullet Bay Beach

Last Friday the St Maarten Nature Foundation organized a beach clean-up with students of the Milton Peters College. Thirty students removed 186 pounds of trash from Mullet Bay Beach in just half an hour, by using the Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organization 4Oceans by weighing all the collected trash and using reusable bags and gloves.

The students also learned about the harmful impacts of littering and trash on our environment, marine life and wildlife. Littering causes serious negative impacts on nature and our environment. As an island, our trash and garbage washes down to the beaches straight into our oceans. Birds, marine life and wildlife are often found dead with stomachs full of plastic. Research from 2015 shows that 48% of fish tested had plastic in their stomach, by 2050 it is expected to have more plastic in the ocean than fish!

The students learned how to prevent much unnecessary trash and to reduce their single-use plastic usage by using reusable products, such as a reusable water bottle, take your own shopping bag and us a spork, instead of single-use plastics. All students received a donated reusable water bottle from the Nature Foundation to substitute their plastic water bottles.

“We are proud on these students because of their hard work this day, achievements and willingness to help the environment of St Maarten. These students maybe the future generation to protect our natural environment and that is very much needed on St Maarten! We hope the students will proudly use their donated water bottle and prevent 365 plastic water bottles per year to enter our oceans by using the reusable one. By using reusable products instead of single-use plastics, we are protecting our environment for future generations and reduce our waste output, as we all know the dump is already overfilled. Nature is our Future; let’s keep our island clean and sustainable together” concluded Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

Nature Foundation Distributes Free Facemasks to Evacuated Shelter Residents and Wider Community to Protect Against Landfill Smoke

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, through the generous support of private individuals  and the business community, have distributed close to 500 facemasks to the population on Thursday, including to the shelter residents evacuated due to the fires at the landfill.  Some 50 masks were handed out at the Rupert I. Maynard Community Center in St. Peters to evacuees. The facemasks were distributed free of charge in order to protect the community from the toxic fumes caused by the burning fires at the Philipsburg Landfill:

The Nature Foundation reiterates that the only solution to this most critical issue is through aid that is managed publicly and transparently and outside the realm of politics. This is an environmental and public health disaster just as bad, if not worse, than hurricane Irma.

During previous studies in air quality and soil composition at the Philipsburg landfill the Nature Foundation recorded positive results for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals. Of particular concern are arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper because of the human health effects. Particularly lead, arsenic and copper can be quite toxic to humans and have been shown to cause some forms of cancer.

These same chemicals are released into the atmosphere through either smoke or through falling fine ash and therefore pose a significant health risk to the community. Landfill fires also release high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) into the atmosphere which causes additional health effects through depriving the body of oxygen.

Photocaption 1: Masks being distributed at Carrefour on Thursday

Photocaption 2: Masks being handed out to Shelter Director Mrs. Groeneveldt at the Rupert I. Maynard Center

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Nature Foundation to Distribute Free Facemasks At Carrefour Parking Lot Thursday, February 8th Starting at 12

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, through the generous support of private individuals  and the business community, will be distributing 350 facemasks at the Carrefour Parking Lot on Thursday, the 8th of February starting at 12 noon. The facemasks will be distributed free of charge on a first come first serve basis. The environmental foundation is distributing the facemasks in order to protect the community from the toxic fumes caused by the burining fires at the Philipsburg Landfill:

“We have been receiving many calls to assist with handing out masks to those being affected by the dump fires. The handing out of masks is not the responsibility of the Nature Foundation, however we have taken the initiative to do so. Unfortunately we have had to make available what little financial resources that we had to purchase masks to hand out to the community for free. Because we have been handing out hundreds of masks we have spent out what little funding we had and staff have been buying masks for the community out of pocket. But now, due to the generous support of the community who have been donating to the nature foundation over the last 24 hours we have been able to purchase 350 masks to make available for free to the population. The Sint Maarten Medical Center has also made some surgical masks available for distribution and Angelic Day Touch have also made masks available. Although we believe that the relevant authorities should take up the responsibility of handing out masks to the population we have again taken the initiative to make masks freely available at a first come first serve basis. We have also given facemasks to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Affairs for distribution to the Public Schools,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.

The Nature Foundation reiterated that the only sollution to this most critical issue is through aid that is managed publicly and transparently and outside the realm of politics. This is an environmental and public health disaster just as bad, if not worse, than hurricane Irma.

During previous studies in air quality and soil composition at the Philipsburg landfill the Nature Foundation recorded positive results for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals. Of particular concern are arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper because of the human health effects. Particularly lead, arsenic and copper can be quite toxic to humans and have been shown to cause some forms of cancer.

These same chemicals are released into the atmosphere through either smoke or through falling fine ash and therefore pose a significant health risk to the community. Landfill fires also release high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) into the atmosphere which causes additional health effects through depriving the body of oxygen.

Nature Foundation Distributes Facemasks to Protect Community Against Harmful Fumes. Reconstruction Fund Should Go Directly to Solving Solid Waste Issues.

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation has distributed almost 300 facemasks on Monday to residents affected by the landfill fire which has been raging at the Irma Landfill. Facemasks were especially distributed to the elderly, those with medical issues and those in difficult financial situations. Facemasks were also distributed to law enforcement personnel controlling the checkpoints at the landfill fires for further distribution. “Again we are faced with a situation where the community is brought in danger by this significant fire and the smoke caused by it. As we still wait for action to occur regarding the management of our solid waste issues we encourage that especially expectant mothers and those with a weakened immune system wear facemasks to reduce the risk caused by the landfill. We also are really urging that restoration funds be used towards the management of the solid waste issue once and for all. Only though public, open and transparent funding with all the necessary checks and balances can we adequately address this issue. We have communicated this to the World Bank and to Government for inclusion in the restoration fund,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.

During previous studies in air quality and soil composition at the Philipsburg landfill the Nature Foundation recorded positive results for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals. Of particular concern are arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper because of the human health effects. Particularly lead, arsenic and copper can be quite toxic to humans and have been shown to cause some forms of cancer.

These same chemicals are released into the atmosphere through either smoke or through falling fine ash and therefore pose a significant health risk to the community. Landfill fires also release high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) into the atmosphere which causes additional health effects through depriving the body of oxygen.

During a survey conducted by the Nature Foundation it was shown that all districts of Sint Maarten have been effected by the smoke caused by the landfill fires; 35% of everyone surveyed  frequently experience negative effects throughout the year from fumes coming from the landfill; 50% of all respondents complained about trouble breathing due to the fumes coming from the landfill; 73% of all respondents mentioned burning in their eyes, nose or throat; 50% experienced burning, watering eyes because of the toxic fumes; 30% experienced nausea combined with vomiting; 50% experienced uncontrolled coughing; and 40% have sought medical assistance because of health complications arising from the fumes caused by the landfill

“The Foundation has continuously communicated the results, findings, recommendations and suggestions to decision-makers and it is the hope of the Nature Foundation that a solution to this serious health issue is arrived at urgently, in the meantime we suggest the wearing of these masks” concluded Bervoets. For those in need of facemasks can contact the Nature Foundation through their Facebook page or by calling +1 721 5444267.

Sint Maarten Nature Foundation Assists Law Enforcement during Tuesday Morning Cole Bay Fire

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation assisted law enforcement officers with battling the Cole Bay Fire on Tuesday Morning. Nature Foundation staff noticed a large fire close to the organization’s Cole Bay office and upon responding to the event noticed that law enforcement personnel were responding without protective facemasks protecting officers from the smoke caused by the fire. The Foundation made facemasks available to responding law-enforcement personnel. In cooperation with Coast Guard Officers the Foundation handed out protective facemasks the organization has been handing out to protect the community from the fires at the Philipsburg landfill officers at the scene. The Nature Foundation hopes that everyone is safe responding to the large fire in the Cole Bay Community.

Photocaption: Law enforcement officers using Nature Foundation provided protective facemasks.

Nature Foundation Makes 150 Facemasks Available to Charlotte Brookson Academy for the Performing Arts Due to Schools Close Proximity to Philipsburg Landfill

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation has made 150 facemasks available to the Charlotte Brookson Academy this week. The Facemasks were donated on two separate occasions by Nature Foundation Project Manager Melanie Meijer ze Schlochtern and Manager Tadzio Bervoets in order to provide some protection to the students of the school. “The staff and students of the CBA are in a direct downwind location from the fumes caused by the landfill and therefore we decided to provide these facemasks to the staff and students”, commented Bervoets.

During previous studies in air quality and soil composition at the Philipsburg landfill the Nature Foundation recorded positive results for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals. Of particular concern are arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper because of the human health effects. Particularly lead, arsenic and copper can be quite toxic to humans and have been shown to cause some forms of cancer.

These same chemicals are released into the atmosphere through either smoke or through falling fine ash and therefore pose a significant health risk to the community. Landfill fires also release high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) into the atmosphere which causes additional health effects through depriving the body of oxygen.

During a survey conducted by the Nature Foundation it was shown that all districts of Sint Maarten have been effected by the smoke caused by the landfill fires; 35% of everyone surveyed  frequently experience negative effects throughout the year from fumes coming from the landfill; 50% of all respondents complained about trouble breathing due to the fumes coming from the landfill; 73% of all respondents mentioned burning in their eyes, nose or throat; 50% experienced burning, watering eyes because of the toxic fumes; 30% experienced nausea combined with vomiting; 50% experienced uncontrolled coughing; and 40% have sought medical assistance because of health complications arising from the fumes caused by the landfill

Because of the generous donations of the community the Nature Foundation has been distributing facemasks through the community in addition to the CBA. For those in need of facemasks can contact the Nature Foundation through their Facebook page or by calling +1 721 5444267. Facemasks can also be bought in Hardware stores throut the island.

Photocaption: Bervoets and Meijer zu Schlochtern presenting Facemasks to CBA staff and students (Kai Latouche/ Kairros photo)

Nature Foundation Suggests Communities Surrounding Philipsburg Landfill Wears Facemasks to Protect Against Harmful Fumes; Makes 100 Available For Free

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation is suggesting that the community wears facemasks in order to protect themselves from the fumes caused by the ongoing fires at the Philipsburg Landfill, and will make 100 masks freely available to the community towards this end. “The fire at the landfill has been burning for over a month now resulting in significant negative health effects affecting the community and visitors alike. As we still wait for action to occur regarding the management of our solid waste issues we encourage that especially expectant mothers and those with a weakened immune system wear facemasks to reduce the risk caused by the landfill. We realize that many may be going through financial difficulties after Hurricane Irma so we will make 100 masks freely available on a first come first serve basis, ,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.

During previous studies in air quality and soil composition at the Philipsburg landfill the Nature Foundation recorded positive results for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals. Of particular concern are arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper because of the human health effects. Particularly lead, arsenic and copper can be quite toxic to humans and have been shown to cause some forms of cancer.

These same chemicals are released into the atmosphere through either smoke or through falling fine ash and therefore pose a significant health risk to the community. Landfill fires also release high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) into the atmosphere which causes additional health effects through depriving the body of oxygen.

During a survey conducted by the Nature Foundation it was shown that all districts of Sint Maarten have been effected by the smoke caused by the landfill fires; 35% of everyone surveyed  frequently experience negative effects throughout the year from fumes coming from the landfill; 50% of all respondents complained about trouble breathing due to the fumes coming from the landfill; 73% of all respondents mentioned burning in their eyes, nose or throat; 50% experienced burning, watering eyes because of the toxic fumes; 30% experienced nausea combined with vomiting; 50% experienced uncontrolled coughing; and 40% have sought medical assistance because of health complications arising from the fumes caused by the landfill

“The Foundation has continuously communicated the results, findings, recommendations and suggestions to decision-makers and it is the hope of the Nature Foundation that a solution to this serious health issue is arrived at urgently, in the meantime we suggest the wearing of these masks” concluded Bervoets. For those in need of facemasks can contact the Nature Foundation through their Facebook page or by calling +1 721 5444267.