Guest Column by Wendy Walker Drakes
As we seek to commemorate this day and be involved in projects at the local or national level, we recognise that in the Caribbean region there continues to be traction for sustainability and green properties that are committed to protecting the very resource base their facilities, and the island as a whole, are dependent on. Today we commend them as they work collectively and independently to promote wise choices in the various Caribbean islands.
With the recent focus on plastics and the staggering figures of eight million tons of plastic being shovelled into the oceans every day, the efforts across the region to address this issue are growing. Countries such as Antigua with the ban on plastic bags in the commercial sector (supermarkets) and the island wide ban on Styrofoam are truly reaping the benefits. There is less of a challenge to drainage systems and removal of the eyesore in the marine environment while protecting the marine life.
The BHTA Environmental Committee has a strong charter and drives the effort in regard to alternatives like Vegware as a replacement for the damaging Styrofoam containers. In St Lucia the efforts of the SLHTA Environment Committee is food forward in ensuring fresh island produce can be accessed through the web portal created – a move that is good both for the farmers and the hotels. A similar effort is effectively being executed in Jamaica. Barbados, Grenada, and Guyana are also avidly putting new policies in place at the national level to stave off the challenges of plastic waste. Recycling has varying success and definitely challenges in our island microcosms. We look forward to more adepth recycling partners and greater support for the sector. This will make 3Rs – Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle are greater reality in the region.
Our current political backdrop has new governments and incumbent administrations. and we look forward to leadership that will continue to take on these issues and make bold choices that will safeguard tourism and the economies of the region.
Happy World Environment Day 2018!