The Public Entity Saba intends to drastically reduce single-use plastics through several actions. The new water bottling plant, the reusable large water containers with dispensers, and the small reusable Dopper bottle play a significant role in this exercise which fits in Saba’s continued work as a green, sustainable destination.
The new water bottling plant at St. Johns, when operational in a few months, will be filling large reusable water containers of 3 and 5 gallon (12 and 20 liters). Through a dispenser, people can obtain clean drinking water. This means that people no longer have to buy single-use plastic bottles.
The benefits of using large, reusable containers are multiple: having to bring in fewer plastic single-use bottles means less plastics are coming to Saba, and less plastic has to be recycled. Reusable bottles are better for the environment and the planet. The system also saves money because the large reusable containers are cheaper than buying boxes of single-use plastic bottles.
The Public Entity Saba will give the good example by placing water dispensers in the government buildings and offices. The close to 200 civil servants will receive a Dopper bottle. The Dopper bottle, a Dutch invention, is made of hard plastic, is reusable, sturdy, easy to use and to clean. By using a Dopper bottle and filling it at the water dispenser, government employees will test the system while at the same time setting a good example.
Due to the limited water distribution system, people on Saba depend on bottled water. However, when the bottling plant becomes operational, residents and visitors can switch to reusable bottles and dispensers. This will reduce the number of single-use bottles considerably, by an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 bottles per year for the government alone. Another important fact, aside from the environment, is the fact that water from the large reusable/refillable bottles is cheaper than buying boxes of water will help to bring the cost of living down for people. Since the installation of the two filling stations in The Bottom and Windwardside and the laying of the waterpipe on a large part of the island, the price of water has already gone down on average by 50 per cent.
A third important advantage of this new drinking water is the quality. The drinking water produced in the bottling plant complies with the quality standards of the BES Drinking Water Act, which includes the essential minerals required for healthy drinking water.
The Dopper bottle which the government employees will receive is a joint initiative of the Public Entity Saba, the World Wildlife Fund Nederland WWF-NL and Dopper. Ocean expert and project leader Caribbean Netherlands at the WWF-NL Arjan de Groene on Monday, January 7, 2019 handed over the first Doppers to Commissioner Bruce Zagers and State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops at the site of the new bottling plant.
De Groene said about the initiative: “In my work, I have regular contact with the nature organizations and the government on Saba. WWF-NL also has contact with Dopper as one of the organizations that fights against plastic pollution. When I heard of the beautiful initiative on Saba, I contacted Dopper. Their mission is: ‘clean drinking water from every faucet, clean water in every ocean.’ They were immediately enthusiastic to provide the government employees with a Dopper with the panda logo of WWF. A nice win-win-win situation, because the government employees are happy with their Doppers, Dopper is happy with the attention for their sustainable product and the reduction in plastic use, and WWF-NL is enthusiastic about the initiative of the Public Entity Saba to drastically reduce the use of disposable plastics.”
Just as other places in the world, the plastic soup issue in the Caribbean Netherlands islands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, poses a severe threat to nature. Saba wants to be a green, sustainable island, promoting ecotourism, and operating in a self-sustainable manner as much as possible. Saba’s small size presents challenges, water is scarce and the space is very limited which makes waste management complicated. Decreasing the amount of waste by reducing the import and use of single-use water bottles is both good for the island and for nature.