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Ministry of Tourism and Sustainable Destination Council incentivising fight against single-use plastics


by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – The Ministry of Tourism and the Sustainable Destination Council are continuing their work on moving St. Kitts and Nevis closer to banning single-use plastics with several initiatives in the pipeline.

“Our focus as the ‘Plastic Be Gone’ group and the subcommittee is to focus on reducing single-use plastic pollution. We want to see a reduction in the overall use of single-use plastics, the importation of [them], the illegal dumping, everything. We just want it out of the way,” said Kenney Manning, Sustainable Tourism Coordinator, during the March 17 broadcast of WINN’s Island Tea with Jade Johnson and Azem Bailey.

The Tourism Ministry and the Sustainable Destination Council are partnering with public and private entities to help reduce the use of single-use plastic, including the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), the Ministry of Education and the Volunteer Youth Core.

This Saturday (March 19), the CYEN and Marine Resources are hosting a plastic bottle drive at The Admiral’s Enterprises Ltd. (a private waste management company that also provided recycling services) at the old sugar factory from 8 a.m to 12 p.m. 

The initiative has been incentivised with prizes for the individual who carries the most bottles to encourage more participation.

“There’s a prize involved; there’s a first-place prize for the person who brings the most bottles. First place is EC$200; second place is EC$150; third place is EC$100. Just imagine you’re collecting garbage and you’re just passing it off to someone, and you get EC$200 just for doing that, as a good citizen and you’re saving your environment and making money at the same time.”

The initiative is not just a way to help reduce plastic waste in the federation and foster a recycling practice but a chance to collect some necessary data on plastic use and waste in St. Kitts.

“We’ll also be collecting data because we need to be more data-driven in St. Kitts because decisions are often made; I wouldn’t say on a whim but anecdotally. We don’t have enough data to compare over the years; that’s what we are trying to do in ‘Plastic Be Gone.’ So we can see well this year after this campaign, there’s a reduction of plastics in this community or that community. And why has not been a reduction in this community? So that’s what we are looking to do this weekend.”

On March 26, there will be a coastal clean-up on 15 beaches and bays in St. Kitts; individuals interested can register from the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council social media platforms.

Also, a repurposing of plastic bottles contest is underway; the deadline for submissions is March 31- more details to follow.

“They are made to last; that’s the reason why plastic became such a catch; it was made to last. But if you’re [going to] use it for one time, you’re defeating the purpose for why plastic was created… Since it’s already in our environment, why not let’s use it for something else,” said Diannille Taylor-Williams, Assistant Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and its Sustainable Tourism Focal point.

Manning ended by saying the reliance on single-use products, the inefficient way plastics are disposed of, and the effects on the environment are everyone’s problem.

“You, having so much plastic waste is affecting the Tourism Product. The Tourism product is also producing plastic waste and affecting your product your lifestyle. [We want to bring different people together to give their perspective on it, and we come, and we mesh our ideas, and the public can better understand [that] this is not just an individual problem, it’s not for tourists, it’s our problem, it’s everyone’s problem and if we get this thing going it [will be for] everyone’s benefit.”


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