“Illegal dumping threat to health and tourism”

POSTED: 08/19/16 1:09 PM

St.maarten – The Nature Foundation remains concerned about illegal dumping of building materials and garbage on several locations around the island. In the last months the foundation’s staff spotted several dumping locations, mainly construction garbage, which has been dumped by individuals and likely also by businesses. “Significant illegal dumping took place at various locations but in particular by the Belair pond, at the beginning of the trail to the natural pools at Point Blanche and at the lagoon side of Wellsburg Street in Cole Bay,” Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets said in a press statement.

“We are asking our residents to be responsible with their garbage, littering is prohibited by law and is an illegal act. We also urge our decision-makers to address this issue and to ensure that garbage collection occurs efficiently so as to avoid illegal garbage dumping. St. Maarten already has issues regarding waste management and this only compounds those issues,” Bervoets added.

Dumping places for garbage can cause serious human health effects and these dump places are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests. Particularly now when so much is being done to control the breeding mosquito population because of the Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue viruses these types of dumps are a significant health concern.

“The impacts on our island’s nature are significantly. Plastics endanger wildlife and ecosystems and remains in the environment for hundreds of years because it does not biodegrade. Toxins from decomposing garbage also effects environmental and human health, especially if it is in a location which is not managed as a landfill,” Bervoets stated.

The Nature Foundations also warns about the impact on tourism, “Tourists do not want to see garbage and waist in nature; many tourists do care about the environment and also visit our island because of our beautiful nature and beaches. We will need to make sure to preserve St Maarten’s nature.”

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