The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) applauds the initiative to legally ban plastic bags as proposed by Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams. In addition, the Association requests to expand the draft law to also ban all styrofoam products.
In her initiative, Wescot-Williams alluded to the Aruban plastic bag ban under the General Police Ordinance as a source of inspiration. Aruba’s Members of Parliament unanimously voted to ban single-use plastic bags on June 28th 2016. Currently research is being conducted to include Styrofoam products. Insiders estimate Styrofoam to be included in that law in the last quarter of 2019.
SHTA underlines the importance of the initiative for both banning plastic bags as well as Styrofoam as part of curbing Sint Maarten’s gigantic waste challenge. According to the Aruban initiators of the ban, Aruba used over 30 million plastic bags per year at the point the law was introduced in 2016.
Translating household indicators to population and current stayover visitors amounts, Aruban researcher Juliet Carvalhal roughly estimate at least 15 million plastic bags a year to be in use on Sint Maarten. According to Carvalhal plastic bags are not just a problem as part of the waste challenge at large, but plastic bags are difficult to recycle. Even societies with high standards of recycling only recycle 5% of this type of bag.
SHTA encourages Sint Maarten parliament to consider campaigns to change both consumer and retailer behavior. On Aruba, awareness campaigns assisted in swift implementation and provision of alternative solutions. Amongst other stakeholders, SHTA counterparts ATIA and AHATA were closely involved in the process of change.
In its “Vision for Sint Maarten 2025” launched on May 28th, SHTA underlined how a healthy and beautiful island, a sustainable economy and good governance are inextricably linked to create quality of life for all Sint Maarten residents. Better environmental laws rank amongst the highest of the priorities listed in the vision.