April 22 is known as international Earth Day. This got me thinking…what is Saba doing on behalf of this Earth Day and is there anything that can be improved to keep the unspoiled queen unspoiled?
So let’s ask those critical questions:
- Is the Recycling plant really a Recycling Plant or the same as the previous dump, but only with a more beautiful building? Let’s see…
Saba citizens are asked to separate the household garbage into recyclable materials ( plastic, cardboard boxes, batteries, small household appliances, glass etc). Yet, the funny thing is that when the garbage is collected the separated garbage is thrown together into the same dump truck! So why are we asked to separate, when it is not transported separately to the recycling plant?
- But what happens at the recycling plant?
In 2015 there was a lavish opening of the recycling plant, claiming Saba to be the front runner in having a top of the line recycling plant, and that waste will be dealt with according to Dutch rules and regulations. But is this really happening?
- Where do the separated waste products go? Are they shipped of the island or are they just burnt all together in the incinerator to create more concentrated air pollution?
Where does this air lead to? Could that be St. John’s where the local schools are located and young people inhale these toxins?
- Is there a solution to prevent this pollution to go into the air? There must be, since the Netherlands are advanced in the reduction of air pollution and even cars are fitted with carbon fiber filters to reduce air pollution.
But if the handling of the garbage is not done in accordance to how it was presented to the community and maybe even the Netherlands, who have helped to realize the recycling plant with financial support, are we then still obligated to pay the monthly $9? Or are we as citizens allowed to emphasize on the importance of recycling and remind government and ourselves to keep to the objective? Can we as citizens be critical to ourselves and help government to improve the handling of the garbage by demanding less of the environment?
The answer is “Yes We Can!” by using less non biodegradable waste products and dividing tasks.
What can government do about it?
- Establish legislation to prevent non biodegradable waste to enter the island
- Do an annual information campaign about the importance of recycling
- Work together with the Netherlands to improve the current recycling plant
- Use the recycling plant as a recycling plant
- Export non biodegradable products to a recycling plant abroad for further handling ( no more land filling with used tires!)
- Reduce air pollution by using the recycling plant adequately (prevent waste garbage to be burnt in open containers) by using the appropriate burner and trapping the smoke in a water reservoir.
- Provide subsidy for water filtering systems to make cistern water drinkable and informing the community about it.
What can the people of Saba do about it?
- Start with yourself!
- Stop the use of plastic straws and plastic grocery bags.
- Stop the use of Styrofoam! Since this is a toxic material and is not safe to serve food into and is absolutely not biodegrable!!
- Buy better quality items such as clothing and household appliances, that will last longer
- Reusing old items by fixing them or reusing items for a different purpose.
- Take you garbage with you when you have enjoyed nature!!!
- Pick up garbage that is laying around
- Grow you own vegetables
- Buy locally produced food
- Go on a hike and pick fruits from the trees and make some juice
- Use reusable water bottles
- Filter your cistern water by using reusable UV light sterilizers or other filters
- Make government accountable for what they have proposed to do about the waste on Saba
Let’s keep Saba unspoiled!
(Name withheld on request)
And keep separating your garbage, because one of the reasons that almost everything is burned is because not enough people are really separating and put everything in the same bin
Great points made in this article. Recycling is just one component; not the “fix”.
In my opinion, the greatest change can be made when people first Refuse: refuse the plastic straws, and other single use plastics (cups, Styrofoam containers, plastic bags, buying produce – that has been wrapped in plastic and placed on a Styrofoam container in the stores for example).
Refuse to use balloons, which end up in the sea eaten by the turtle population and other marine life which Saba prides itself on. It CAN be a party without balloons.
Local grocery stores and restaurants can be great change-leaders in this regard; reduce their costs and give consumers better options. Consumers need to start asking for better options and refusing single use plastics.
Not to say it is easy to change habits. I personally made a commitment at the beginning of the year to do better – some days I do great, other days I forget my reusable grocery bags and use a plastic cup – but I am trying and I am AWARE –
Discussion to raise awareness is a great step – so appreciations to the Unknown Author of this article.