Published On: Sun, May 27th, 2018

Introduce recycling now

StMaartenNews OpinionRight now St Maarten is dealing with an ongoing issue, the landfill and fires that have become more frequent. Over the years many have “had the solutions” to fix the problem but still the people are, in 2018, inhaling toxic fumes when it ignites.

While many feel that the landfill situation is an issue only to be solved by the government I disagree. It is not the government alone that can solve this problem. The people of St. Maarten can do their part by lessening their waste that ends up on the landfill. Ultimately, what the government can do is pass laws and provide the infrastructure that helps but they cannot change the amount of waste that ends up on the landfill alone. If government were to put into effect a law starting the recycling process, how many persons would adapt? The process of recycling is one that begins in the mind and is then acted upon.

So the best bet in moving forward would be to first plant the idea of recycling in the minds of the people prior to making it mandatory. The Netherlands is known as “an extremely green country.” They’ve gotten themselves this title by taking different steps to encourage their citizens to create less waste. They have imposed taxes that assist the proper disposal of items, by encouraging citizens to cut down on the use of plastic bags by having a fee attached, by having several environment friendly groups within each city and persons that are able to join and oversee what government is doing in maintaining the environment. But before St. Maarten can indulge such campaigns it is necessary that the people first understand the power that they have and the role that they play.

The Netherlands’ government has…

  • a Ministry dedicated to maintaining a green environment, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
  • worked with organizations that observes the country’s respect of nature and of raw materials (on a whole)
  • 4000+ persons who work to address the environment in the country, along with living space, housing.

The people of The Netherlands, as explained by www.xpat.nl, have

  • a vast majority of the population that recycles their waste
  • many people that separate, and correctly dispose of, their organic waste
  • the waste is turned into compost, and reused in gardens and agriculture
  • for every two million tons of paper and glass collected, close to 90% gets recycled and used to make new products
  • numerous environmentalist programs and activities that any resident of the Netherlands can join
  • local environmental groups that can be joined if someone wished to become involved
  • ‘eco-teams’ in many neighborhoods. These teams work hard to spread the message about how important it is to recycle, in order to protect the environment

So, not only is the government making efforts to lower the country’s carbon footprint but the people of the country also see the importance and do their part.

So what can the people of St. Maarten do? There have been attempts to encourage recycling, the most recent being an iron box where anyone could place, separately, their glass, plastics, and cardboard. There was a good response to the attempt but it was only one location. One location where not all persons were able to get to and the box often overflowed with what persons left. However, after the passing of Hurricane Irma that initiative has stopped.

What the Netherlands has incorporated is the separation of plastics, glass, organic (food), paper and cardboard, and textiles and clothes. Each item has its designated day of pick up and a calendar stating what is picked up when is distributed. Luckily the initiative has begun and post Irma more persons are looking for ways to remedy the ever-growing landfill.

Currently, with the fires that have taken place on the landfill, and being in 2018, now is the time to properly introduce recycling to the St. Maarten people. It is now time for the people to do and for the government to follow.