Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 25, 2018 (SKNIS): This year, plastic free July was implemented for people around the world to pledge to reduce their plastic use and “choose to refuse.” Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Tourism continues to work closely with the general public, in particular businesses, to promote a plastic free July and beyond.
“We have been partnering with and we have been speaking to businesses. We have encouraged them to not give any plastic bags especially to persons who are ordering stuff to go and not to give straws unless they are asked for,” said Diannille Taylor-Williams, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism. “So far, a few businesses have partnered with us including Park Hyatt. Park Hyatt is presently going through a transition where they are actually globally finishing away with plastics, so they will be using bamboo and paper straws.”
Mrs. Taylor-Williams said that other businesses, including but not limited to, Shawarma King, Inon’s Beach Bar and Vibes Beach Bar, came onboard since the start of the plastic free July challenge. She noted that a lot of queries were received about the way forward once July ends, adding that the plastic free movement will continue.
“After July, we are working towards a plastic free SKN. July is just the time when you highlight the need for us to end plastic pollution. Plastic free July is not the last month where you would want to end plastic pollution and take care of the environment in which you live,” she said, adding that “it should be a lifestyle.”
The assistant secretary briefly spoke about Rwanda, a country in East Africa, for banning the use of plastics, which was done through legislation. She said that if they can do so given the challenges faced such as size then St. Kitts and Nevis as a smaller nation should be able to ban even single use plastics.
“We are supposed to be more advanced and so… in terms of economics we have to advance in terms of knowledge. We don’t always have to wait for legislation if each one of us does one little thing ending single use plastics,” she said. “We would persuade the people in power to take whatever steps. We can do it on our own; we don’t always have to use the big stick but it can help.”
She noted that moral suasion is used by the Sustainable Destination Council group as a way of encouraging people to see the benefits of eliminating the use of plastics, especially single use plastics, not just to themselves but for their future generations as well. She added that as a firm advocate for abolishing the use of plastics she has begun to practice it herself by using reusable bags when she goes to the supermarkets. She encouraged the general public to take the step and help St. Kitts and Nevis to be a plastic free country.