STOP Throw Plastic in De Sea!
Environmental protection still priority
By Shawn Seabrookes
Basseterre, St. Kitts: The efforts to ensure that the local and regional marine environment remains in the best possible condition, with minimal incidents of pollution, remains an issue of top priority among regional administrative circles.
Freewinds Cruise Ship
This was evident during a two day conference onboard the Freewinds cruise ship, while it birthed at Port Zante, on November 19th and 20th.
A major issue on the table was the enforcement of regulations against the disposal of plastic products in the sea.
The conference was sponsored by two United Nations organizations- the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Education Programme (UNEP)- the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Regional Activity Centre/ Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Centre for the wider Caribbean (RAC/REMPEITC- Caribe), which is based in Curacao.
According to Mr. McLean Hobson, the Director of Maritime Affairs in St. Kitts, the whole objective of the conference was to build on positive frameworks that were established by the Cartagena Convention and the MARPOL Annex 5 to ensure that the marine area is protected from dangerous pollutants.
He disclosed that the Cartagena Convention refers to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, which came into force in 1986. The Convention was the first major step to the legal implementation of an Action Plan for the Caribbean Environmental Programme. ~~Adz:Right~~
The MARPOL Annex 5 is an agreement which regulates garbage from ships, especially plastics, which can be just as deadly to marine life as oil and chemical spills. The agreement came into play in 1988.
St. Kitts and Nevis is among a number of Caribbean territories who have ratified both agreements.
A number of students from the various high schools were invited aboard the ship to voice their opinions about the protection of the environment, especially from the marine aspect.
Additionally, officers from the Coast Guard also participated in the conference.
Brief remarks were also given by the Minister of Public Works, Utilities, Post and Transport, Dr. the Hon. Earl “Asim” Martin and the Hon. Richard Skerritt, the Minister of State with responsibility for Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Both Ministers emphasized how critical it is t preserve and conserve the marine environs as such has a very significant impact on not only social development but economic development as well.
A number of representatives from the various sponsors of the convention also participated in the two day event.