PLASTIC FREE INITIATIVE SUSTAINS TOURISM INDUSTRY AND PROTECTS CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 06, 2019 (SKNIS): Diannille Taylor-Williams, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Chairperson of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, who appeared on the radio and television show “Working for You” on June 05, stated that the plastic free initiative in St. Kitts and Nevis is not only to sustain the destination for tourists, but to protect citizens and residents.

Mrs. Williams stated that the council is championing destination stewardship, noting that citizens and residents should be the best stewards of the destination.

“We are doing it first for us and then for our visitors. If we are going to be impacted by plastic pollution in terms of our food, in terms of the toxicity of the plastic impacting our health and wellness, then if we do that, if we focus on that and being a good steward of our destination, then everything else will fall in place,” she said.

It is for this reason why the Ministry of Tourism supports the Department of Environment, said Mrs. Taylor-Williams.

“We believe it can’t be done by one entity. It’s a group of us having to come together, public and private sector. That is the way we believe this issue should be approached,” said the Chairperson of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council.

“One might say they are only doing it for visitors, but in the destination council our tagline is “Good for us, better for all,” she said. “We focus first on residents and then as a result of what benefits residents, visitors also benefit.”

Mrs. Taylor-Williams also stated that “if you do not have a healthy workforce, then you don’t have a tourism destination because we won’t have the workforce to support such a destination.”

She noted that some persons do not see plastic as a problem, but there is evidence across the island.

“You just have to pass the air strip next to new road and see the number of plastic bags stuck in the fence of the airport,” she said. “Persons think that it only ends up at the landfill, but the way people are dumping litter, it does not all go to the landfill because people just throw things around the place. Plastic is light and it will blow and it gets trapped in places like that and it’s very unsightly.”

One of the main reasons persons come to St. Kitts and Nevis is to experience the beauty, said Mrs. Taylor-Williams, noting that anything above the 1000ft contour is a protected area. Thus, there is no development.

“People love those unobstructed views. I do not think people will leave a metropolitan area to come to see plastic stuck in a fence,” she said. “So in terms of our natural beauty, that is one issue.”

Mrs. Taylor-Williams pointed out that health and wellness are other issues with regards to plastic.

She said that the Sustainable Destination Council uses the same approach as the United Nations in terms of having an integrated approach to dealing with issues like plastic.