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Evelyn: Citizens being encouraged to become better environmental stewards

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, March 5, 2022 (MMS-SKN) — Acutely aware of the need to pay serious attention to the way in which people dispose of waste, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, through the Ministry of Environment, is encouraging its citizens to become better environmental stewards.

Federal Minister of Environment and Cooperatives, the Hon Eric Evelyn, made the remarks on Friday, March 4 at a ceremony held at the Solid Waste Management Conference Room in Taylor’s Range to officially launch the US$1m St. Kitts and Nevis Solid Waste Management and Recycling Project.

“The implementation of this project is a step toward building a coordinated framework to address waste disposal practices and I may dare say, quite timely,” said Hon Evelyn at the ceremony which was chaired by Director of Environment, Ms June Hughes.

The project is funded by the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), and present at the meeting was the Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) His Excellency Michael Chau-Horng Lin, who also gave brief remarks. He was supported by Second Secretary at the Embassy, Mr Jack Li.

“This project is timely for two main reasons,” pointed out Hon Evelyn. “Firstly, it aligns with my Ministry’s commitment to encourage our citizens to become better environmental stewards. We are acutely aware of the need to pay serious attention to the way in which we dispose of waste. The ever niggling but critical issues associated with waste separation and excessive waste contribute to environmental degradation.”

The overall outcome of the project, he pointed out, is to seek to establish a recycling system to improve efficiency and increase the amount of waste recycled by twice the amount. He noted that setting the systemic framework will be a foundational pillar to create efficient and collaborative pathways among the stakeholders and ultimately result in more environmentally responsible actions from all the citizens, which he added would be the beginning of a mindset shift.

The Honourable Minister advised that the Ministry of Environment and Co-operatives is leading the charge to implement a ban on single-use plastics as St. Kitts and Nevis endeavours to achieve UN’s Sustainable Goal 12, which is to ‘Ensure responsible consumption and production patterns.’

“To achieve this goal, we must reflect on ways in which we can use our resources efficiently to reduce waste in a sustainable manner,” observed Hon Evelyn. “It also points us to the possibilities of economic innovation for sustainability.”

These will include the possibilities of packaging products using environmentally friendly material, diverse offering of how to reuse plastics or any other product, adding: “The use of technology in reducing waste are all ways of reimagining how we can achieve resource efficiency.”

In attendance was Project Manager, Ms Joyce Chang, who gave an overview of the three-year project which comes to an end in July 2024, having started in July 2021.

Stakeholders from both St. Kitts and Nevis were invited for the launch, and among those present included the Solid Waste Management St. Kitts, Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Post, Ministry of Education, Sustainable Development Planning Unit, Nevis Tourism Authority represented by CEO Mr Devon Liburd, Bureau of Standards, General Manager of Handi Plastics Mr Michael Edgecomb, and Department of Environment members of staff.

“I want to use this opportunity to say thanks to all the stakeholders who have agreed to join the fight of tackling waste matters and the recycling programme in general,” said Minister Evelyn. “We recognise that the implementation of a recycling programme will require some cultural changes in attitude and behaviour. However, I am confident that with the diverse composition of the Project Steering Committee, innovative ways will be presented to address this.”

The partnership with Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), pointed out the Minister, does not only provide the financial assistance but also technical assistance. He noted that the country was honoured to have Ms Joyce Chang, the project coordinator, working here and promised that she will receive support and guidance from the project steering committee.

He said that he firmly believes that this healthy knowledge building and exchange management process is pivotal as the country will learn from Ms Chang and that she would also learn from the stakeholders, and that he looks forward to strengthening capacities across government institutions and the stakeholders throughout St. Kitts and Nevis.

“Once again allow me to express my profound thanks to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for supporting this project, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) for authorising and guiding the project concept and my team at the Ministry and Department of Environment,” said the Hon Evelyn in conclusion. He added: “The implementation of the Solid Waste Management and Recycling Project has already started and we look forward to the continued collaboration.”

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