Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 2, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom): In St. Kitts, June has been dubbed Environment Month as the Department of Environment is working to raise awareness of issues affecting the environment and what can be done to rectify these issues.
Discussions on the most recent edition of Radio and Television program InFocus centered on ‘Environment Issues’ where Director of Environment June Hughes and Environment Officer Vicia Woods explained some of the problems affecting the island.
World Environment Day will be observed on Monday June 5th.
Ms. Woods explained the importance of this observance, noting, “The whole idea behind the World Environment Day, it is essentially a global platform for inspiring change, positive change towards how we as human beings interact with the environment. This is important because how we interact with the environment, results to how our biodiversity is either properly managed or how is this destroyed.”
Director Hughes explained the theme for World Environment Day, ‘Solutions to Plastic Pollution’.
“We are challenged with the amount of plastic that we have in an environment. Now, most of them are a one use product, single use and so we have to dispose of it, so we dispose of it,” she said.
“It lasts for a very long time in the environment, so it doesn’t biodegrade. It takes hundreds of years to biodegrade and most of the times, because of the effect of sunlight, it will degrade into micro plastics, which are even more harmful to the environment because they’ll enter into our waterways and then into our oceans. Fish consume these micro plastics and they end up in our food chain, and they are harmful to the body. So the UN is encouraging us to come up with solutions dealing with this overwhelming amount of plastic in the environment.”
Ms. Woods said the department has been rallying for a ban on single use plastics in the federation. She said activities this month will prepare persons for that eventuality.
“One of our key activities for the Environment Month is something that we thought would be very impactful, which would be the no Plastic Bag Mondays. We’ve reached out to several supermarkets across the island to ask them to join this venture with us. What we proposed is that on Mondays in the month of June– the first Monday, would be the 5th of June, which happens to be World Environment Day– we’ve asked the supermarkets to not give plastic bags, shopping bags to their customers. This is just a step in the direction to where we are heading because sooner or later we won’t be giving plastic bags, but we don’t want to rip the band aid off immediately. So on Mondays in the month of June, there’ll be no shopping bags given, plastic shopping bags given. So we ask the general public to walk with your Reusable bag.”
Environment Month began with a Church Service, and will include an Address on World Environment Day. The month will also see an Environment Commitment Cocktail, a staff development day, an extreme hike, radio programs and, a partnership with St. Kitts Music Festival where vendors have agreed to use non-plastic reusable items.