Pride presents Coastal Cleanup report to Chamber of Commerce

POSTED: 09/1/11 3:05 PM

St. Maarten – President of the Sint Maarten PRIDE foundation Jadira Veen gave a presentation to the Chamber of Commerce on the importance of the upcoming International Coastal Cleanup.
The International Coastal Cleanup held around the world in over 108 countries is one of the largest volunteer events of its kind. PRIDE foundation is the local coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup and is busy setting up all arrangements for this year’s grand event on Saturday September 17th. at the Mullet Bay Beach from 7am-9:30am. All volunteers are welcome including students, business employees, service club members, faith based groups and others.

Ocean Conservancy’s 2011 International Coastal Cleanup report was presented to Executive Director Claret Connor and office manager Ruth Patrick.
The report details trash collected last year at various beaches on the island. It was explained to the Chamber that based on the itemized trash categories, several directions on solving our waste problems and littering could be explored.
A public awareness anti-litter campaign for our beaches and island in general is possible, more trash bins at our beaches, but also attracting small entrepreneurs to collect, sort and export certain trash is also feasible.

St. Maarten volunteers collected 3,228 beverage cans and 2,581 glass bottles last year. Both trash items can be exported for recycling, glass can be crushed and used in road construction.
The Chamber can use the data results for St. Maarten in order to attract investments in solving our solid waste problems, resulting in less trash headed for the Philipsburg landfill.
The issue of plastic bags given out at the grocery stores was also discussed as well as the mass usage of polystyrene single use food containers given out at almost every food establishment for take away.

According to PRIDE foundation, these two items should be banned as both stay in the environment for decades in landfills and in our waterways, and both cause death to our wildlife like sea turtles and pelicans who mistake pieces of floating plastic and styrofoam for food. Safe and environmentally friendly alternatives are available on the island.
The report details 1,668 plastic bags collected last year.
Claret Connor commended PRIDE foundation for the informed presentation and promised that the Chamber will look into organizing a special conference with stakeholders and partners in the near future to discuss the solid waste issue and educating the public at large.
Connor is no stranger to the annual International Coastal Cleanup as he participates every year with the Rotary Sunrise.
Ocean Conservancy says that trash threatens ocean wildlife and eco-systems; and undermines tourism and economic activities. On St. Maarten the health of our beaches and ocean plays a vital role in our tourism product. From recreational activities like swimming, diving, and boating, to the fish we eat.
September will also see several schools participating in the International Coastal Cleanup on Guana Bay, Point Blanche, Simpson Bay, Great Bay and Belair Beach.
In addition the under water cleanup will be coordinated by Ocean Explorers located on Kim Sha Beach, only experienced divers will be allowed to volunteer with this eco-activity.
For more information on how you can volunteer, please call 5200650 or visit St. Maarten PRIDE Facebook page.

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