SIXTY residents from Gros Islet and its environs, last Saturday, delivered 974 pounds of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (High-density polyethylene) plastic waste to the first of three RePLAST Collection Points (RCP) to go into operation.
From the quantity of plastics delivered, patrons earned a combined total of 365,443 RePLAST Reward points. Implementing agency of the RePLAST OECS Pilot Plastic Recycling Project, UNITE Caribbean, along with partnering agencies, Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority and the Gros Islet Constituency Council have hailed the first RePLAST Collection Point (RCP) a success.
“We were very impressed with the level of support and the number of persons who came out. As a matter of fact, from 8:30 a.m. we have people lining up with many bags of bottles. We are very pleased with the turnout so far this morning.” RePLAST OECS Project Director, Shanta King, said.
The Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority chairs the Steering Committee for the RePLAST-OECS Project. The Authority’s Deputy General Manager, Laurianus Lesfloris, described the public response for the first day as impressive, which he says bodes well for the diversion of plastic waste from the landfill.
“I am quite pleased to see the response here this morning. So far the process has been going very smoothly. If you could prevent waste from ending up in the environment particularly plastics, then that’s a benefit to Saint Lucia. This is not only an economic benefit but an environmental benefit.” Deputy General Manager of the Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority Laurianus Lesfloris, said.
The Gros Islet Constituency Council is the RePLAST-OECS Community Partner responsible for the coordination of scheduled plastic collection for that district. Mayor of Gros Islet, Mr. James Edwin said that because the district serves both residential and touristic groups, the problem of plastic pollution in the island’s northern constituency has both public health and economic implications.
“When we talk about the environment in Gros Iset, it is not only protecting the sea, the land, but also protecting our livelihood. In Gros Islet, we totally depend on the tourism industry and as one of the largest constituencies, we generate quite a bit of plastic. Therefore, we have a responsibility to manage and take care of this.” Mayor of Gros Islet James Edwin, said.
The Republic of France, the main funding partner, continues to maintain a keen interest in the implementation of the project. Mr. Simon Delage, Regional Officer for the Caribbean at the French Embassy in Saint Lucia, said Saturday’s success was a toast to UNITE Caribbean, the implementing agency of the RePLAST Pilot Project. He commended the residents of Gros Islet and its environs for their commitment to participate in combating the issue of plastic pollution.
“I am very happy for this initiative today. From the amount of plastic that we saw and the amount of people who stopped by today, this is really a great success for us at the French Embassy but also for UNITE Caribbean and for all volunteers,” Mr. Delage said.
In preparation for RCP operations, RePLAST-OECS is equipping each of the coordinating agencies with its own inventory of hardware and equipment, inclusive of tents, chairs, scales, signage and computers to facilitate operations. Over the past three months, the RePLAST-OECS Pilot Project and its partners have mobilized more than 100 volunteers island-wide, and developed and delivered volunteer training on the operation of RCPs.
The Gros Islet RePLAST Collection Point is one of three in the northern district. The other two Collection Points for that district will be located in the areas of Monchy and Grande Riviere.
The RePLAST-OECS Project creates a sustainable model for the efficient management of plastic waste, which can be adopted in other Caribbean countries. It is primarily funded by the Republic of France on behalf of the Government of Saint Lucia and is being implemented by UNITE Caribbean.