Plans for a memorandum of understanding between the Dutch and French sides on single-use plastics (see related story) is to be applauded. Combining efforts regarding this major ecological threat is timely as well with next month’s St. Martin/St. Maarten Day celebration.
It makes sense primarily because especially light trash can easily find its way across the open border, whether blown by the wind, driven by currents, or carried by humans and animals. People who still want to believe this is just a concern for environmentalists had better think again: The destination’s tourism economy to a great extent depends on nature.
After all, what would “The Friendly Island” be to guests without its green hills, picturesque landscapes, white-sandy beaches and crystal-blue seas? These are some of the main features that attract vacationers in the first place, often repeat visitors who keep coming back.
But while awareness campaigns and pilot projects like those mentioned are important, legislation and active enforcement remain necessary. St. Maarten has been talking about prohibiting single-use plastics for many years, but the relevant law is yet to be implemented. Little Saba, on the other hand, will introduce such a ban in a phased manner, starting with shopping bags on January 1.
Sure, there are lots of factors to consider, but similar steps have long been taken by others in the region so there is obviously no need to reinvent the wheel. And it’s not exactly rocket-science either.