Hillside Christian Schools: Save the Salt Pond

POSTED: 06/22/12 2:54 PM

St. Maarten – Twenty six students of sixth grade level of the Hillside Christian Schools presented their end of year project called Save the Salt Pond on Thursday. The students were given the opportunity to choose their own area of interest to research and they all agreed that more focus needed to be placed on the environment.
The Great Salt Pond, the habitation of the brown pelican and the adjacent sanitary landfill were featured in the many exhibits the students produced with the aid of their teachers. Teacher Merlyn Williams said that the students have all become more environmentally conscious and are now looking for ways to recycle since taking on the endeavor.
A passionate Joelina Maduro unapologetically laid the blame squarely at the feet of the government.
“The Ring Road is causing the fishes and the crabs to die because when they are trying to breathe they cannot as a result of the heaviness of the sand.”
The aspiring nurse recounted how she was shocked to find the decaying bodies of aquatic life in the Salt Pond on a recent field trip.
“All you can find in the pond now is garbage and sewerage water, nothing else. If you have to go through the pond you see bottles floating on top. That is why the pond is so stink. All around the pelican’s home is nasty stuff. I would say the government has to put a stop to this pollution of the pond. I feel very disappointed because of what is happening,” a clearly upset Maduro said.
Valedictorian Rhea Lalbachan presented statistical data on people’s perception towards the environment and environmental policies that are currently in place. It took two days for Lalbachan and her colleagues to conduct their survey among the more than 80 people that were given questionnaires. While a few of them did not respond to the questions asked, Lalbachan used the data to conclude that 57 persons agreed that “The Salt Pond is an important historical landmark on the Dutch side of St.Maarten” and the vast majority also believe that “the government is not developing the Salt Pond in the right way.”
Sixth grader Therisa Thompson was only too happy to explain how broken glass could be recycled.
“They crush the glass and use the ground glass in cement to make it stronger; they also use the glass to create beautiful artwork.”
Glass tiles, garden landscaping and construction material can all be gotten from recycled glass, the students explained.
Carina Alcin demonstrated how waste paper could be blended in colored water, baked by the sun and then reused as writing material or artwork. The young woman said that she had already started to adopt life changes to help protect the environment.
“I recycle bottles and paper in my personal life and I think recycling is good for the environment and it is good for trees.”
A PowerPoint presentation on how recycled paper and glass is used in industrialized countries was also conducted by Thiona Williams. She suggested that everyone’s life motto become reduce, reuse and recycle.
“It is very important for our economy. It is good to recycle paper rather than cutting down trees which give us air to breathe. I find littering is not good and that is why we are here to prove a point. If we continue like this our Salt Pond will disappear. We need our Salt Pond, it is a historical landmark.”
Niresh Boodhoo studied the operations and effectiveness of the French Side landfill.
“They separate the garbage and they have different sections where they put them. Bushes, glass, tire, garbage and feces are all sent to different places and are also recycled and reused.”
Boodhoo said that he would like to see a similar waste disposal system implemented on the Dutch side.
A history lesson was given by Diane Lejuez on slavery, the original use of the Salt Pond and its place in society as a natural habitat for the brown pelican.
“It is a very important landmark for us but now it is changed into the biggest pollution area,” Lejuez said.
“If they keep on pollution the Salt Pond our national bird, the brown pelican, will fly to another island or country,” Shakeba Pink stressed.
An energetic Noah Toussaint performed a catchy rap composition called the Salt Pond is Almost Gone. To loud cheers from his fellow students Toussaint sang “pollution covering it and I have to warn.” A video of his presentation is already attracting attention on Youtube.com and social networking site Facebook.
Cynthia Selisshint recited a poem she wrote on the situation at the Salt Pond. Today we published an excerpt from the work of this budding literary mind.

Its sight was so beautiful, clean and clear,
Now people are beginning not to care
By polluting it’s going to be ok
Those animals in there are coming to an end
I thought they were supposed to be our friend.
How could we be so cruel?
I thought staying clean was staying so cool
Why is so hard for people to see?
That polluting the pond is not healthy for you and me.

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