Youngsters helped to spread a positive message and made the news recently when the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations BAK announced the winners of its logo competition for “St. Maarten Plastic-Free by 2023”.
We know that single-use plastics are bad for the environment, because it becomes useless trash that lasts for many, many years, littering both the land and the ocean. The drawing competition was held amongst primary and secondary schools, and the artwork is meant to encourage everyone to be responsible by using the three R’s: Reduce, Re-use and Recycle!
The first-place winner was Cheyla Adams (12) from Hillside Christian Elementary School, second place went to Aquilla Pemberton (16) from St. Maarten Academy, and third place went to Noor Masoud (9) from the Methodist Agogic Centre (MAC) – Browlia F. Maillard Campus.
On page 2 of this edition of The KIDS Herald, we’re concluding our story on the Sea Turtles that are found in and around St. Maarten. The topic of single-use plastic is very relevant when it comes to Sea Turtles, as well as many other animals. Sea Turtles can get tangled in plastic, as they can mistake it for food, such as jellyfish. In fact, half of all Sea Turtles mistake plastic for food, according to St. Maarten Nature Foundation.
A few more facts from St. Maarten Nature Foundation:
Did you know?
- Plastic releases harmful chemicals into the environment and it doesn’t really disappear – it only breaks down into smaller pieces. These pieces are then eaten by all sorts of animals and fish.
- More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating around in the world’s oceans – that’s 1,000,000,000,000!
- If nothing changes, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by the year 2050.
- In the ocean, plastic can be found in almost every level of the food chain, from big sharks and whales, to jellyfish, and even to the tiniest of plankton! This kills lots of marine life every year.
- Every Sea Turtle species has been found with plastic in or around their bodies.
- One study from the year 2015 found plastic in the stomachs of nearly half of the fish they tested.
- The ocean creates half of the oxygen we breathe, so we should definitely care about it!
- All over the world, there is interest in protecting the environment and moving away from single-use plastics. More than 200 countries have either banned things like plastic bags or straws, or charge people a fee to discourage the use of these items.