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End plastic pollution: Our lives depend on it

By St Lucia National Trust

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Photo credit: Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority

(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – Earth Day is an internationally recognized day to celebrate the Earth and raise awareness of issues which threaten the planet.

Earth Day has been celebrated annually on April 22nd since 1970. It has grown over the decades and according to Earth Day Network, over 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities in 192 countries worldwide. On this day, governments, corporations and citizens are encouraged to make pledges and support sustainability measures.

The 2018 theme for Earth Day is: End Plastic Pollution. Plastic products have been used since the 1870s. Over the past century its use has grown several folds, leading to pollution of natural resources and degradation of human health and the environment.

Many plastic materials are non-biodegradable. They accumulate in landfills, and contribute to pollution of soil and oceans when discarded improperly. This in turn affects marine life as many aquatic animals consume plastic waste or are trapped within plastic containers, leading to degradation of the health of marine animals and ecosystems. Some types of plastics are suspected to be carcinogenic and contribute to increased risk of cancer in humans.

Plastic pollution is a major issue for human societies and creative solutions are being sought to address it. While it may seem like a monumental task to completely phase out the use of plastic materials, the efforts made so far have been promising. For example, studies have been conducted to use bacteria to safely degrade plastic in landfills, as well as using biodegradable substitutes.

We as a society must advocate for changes in public policy and corporate practices to address plastic pollution. We must also take individual action to do so. Recycling and reuse, using biodegradable alternatives, bringing reusable bags when shopping are some measures we can take.

On April 22, 2018 the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) in collaboration with Sea Adventures Inc. and Sandals Resorts Saint Lucia will be coordinating a simultaneous clean up of the coastline along the Pigeon Island Causeway as well as a portion of the seabed off the Pigeon Island National Landmark. This timely and important initiative will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Additionally, the Trust will be hosting “Sòlèy Kouché” on April 22nd. This is a sunset event held to engage the public in a fun and dynamic forum, while raising awareness and focusing on the theme for Earth Day. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. and includes a procession from the gatehouse at the Pigeon Island National Landmark (PINL) to the Saddle at PINL, where the ceremony will begin at 5:15 p.m.

Participants will be engaged by electrifying and thought-provoking performances and presentations, while enjoying the breathtaking sunset. It will truly be an evening of appreciating the Earth and its beauty. Interested persons are asked to contact the Trust at 452-5005 or email [email protected] for more information or to register.

We as a society must play our part to help end the plight of plastic pollution and protect the Earth for our own well-being as well as that of future generations. On this Earth Day and beyond, we are all encouraged to “Reject, Reduce, Reuse or Recycle Plastics”.

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