Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 31, 2018 (SKNIS): Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time, therefore, St. Kitts and Nevis will play its part and join the rest of the world on Tuesday, June 05, to observe World Environment Day under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”.
“This year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) theme for World Environment Day is “Beat Plastic Pollution.” “Plastics have become one of the earth’s most threatening materials and have been negatively impacting earth’s resources for a number of years. With this growing calamity, this is a call to action for all of us to come together and play our part in order to change the impact plastics are having on our natural environment,” said Derionne Edmeade, Environment Education Officer in the Department of Environment, adding that this year’s theme “encourages us to reduce our dependency on plastics as the catastrophic environmental cost of this convenience is now becoming even clearer.”
He added that the Department of Environment plays a role in ensuring that plastic bottles are removed from various places through its yearly coastal clean-up activity.
“Every year during the coastal cleanup activity organized by the Department of Environment, plastic bottles have been the most identified item collected from our coastlines. In 2017, two thousand, one hundred and thirty two (2132) plastic bottles were collected from two of our beaches during our annual coastal cleanup activity,” he said. “This will not only have a negative impact on our physical environment, but will also impact our tourism product. Plastics have now become a waste nightmare and it is time for governments all over the world to join the fight against plastic pollution that is significantly contributing to the degradation of our natural environment. This number will only continue to grow if we do not change our behavior towards pollution and adopt ways to protect our physical environment and our natural resources.”
The environment education officer said that human beings must do more to reduce their harmful impacts on the environment and that people living on a small island like St. Kitts and Nevis need to pay special attention to reducing their use of plastics.
“To beat plastic pollution, the Department of Environment is encouraging everyone to step up and think deeply about not only how we can help to reduce our plastic waste, but also how we can change our consumption behavior,” said the environment education officer. “We must rethink our approach to designing, producing and using plastic products. A great way to reduce plastic waste is to use reusable shopping bags, use reusable bottles and containers to help minimize the amount of plastics entering the waste stream. As consumers, we must not only be actors but drivers for the behavioural change that must happen upstream. We must act as both consumers and informed citizens to drive the message to all sectors as it relates to our use and dependency on plastic. Many countries have already taken important steps to place bans on plastics as a mean of demonstrating government’s commitment to reducing the negative impact of plastics.”
The Department uses the month of June annually to promote environmental awareness in schools, and among the general public. One of the department’s annual events is an exhibition in Independence Square highlighting the work of the Department. This year an outreach focus for the month of June will be on the timely international theme of reducing the global dependency on plastics. It’s a theme that resonates in the Federation and calls for persons to take a serious look at how much plastics play a part in our lives and the impact its disposal is having on the environment. The Department’s actions for this June and beyond will be centered around minimizing the Federation’s dependency on plastics.