By all accounts, last weekend’s first annual No Plastic Bag Day in Barbados was successful in raising public awareness that there is an alternative to the millions of plastic bags Bajans throw away every year. Thousands of Bajans got the message as Future Centre Trust volunteers publicized the event at the wonderful businesses that participated: Emerald City, Carlton & A1, Super Centre, Trimart, Coffee and H&B Hardware.
As an example of what can be accomplished, Kammie Holder reports that through the excellent efforts of Mr. Dean, the cashiers and packers at Emerald City, between 9am and 2pm 80% of the shoppers participated in No Plastic Bag day and used a combination of green bags, cardboard boxes or brought their own bags to re-use.
Good work by Mr. Dean & Emerald City!
Some stores were totally indifferent to No Plastic Bag Day. As Kammie puts it, Bajans can be very complacent.
But as BFP reader “Passin thru” said…
“Well done to Kammie and all the people at the Future Centre Trust. This was the start of something beautiful and it will grow every year and you’ll see that five years from now more people will use fewer plastic bags. That will be the longterm result of this first “no plastic bag day”.
No environmental project can be “wham-bam-accomplished”. This is a long term project to change the minds and culture of people who don’t care. Kammie and the other good people know that and they keep plugging away.”
The Ugly: Sabotage by Barbados Government
Unfortunately though, No Plastic Bag Day was nowhere near as successful as it could have been because the effort was sabotaged by the Barbados Government – and then totally ignored by Environment Minister Lowe and his Ministry workers.
No Plastic Bag Day sabotaged by government? Yup… sabotaged.
The Barbados Government, Environment Minister Denis Lowe and the Environment Ministry were invited to participate in the planning and execution of No Plastic Bag Day. What a waste of effort.
Denis Lowe canceled a scheduled meeting with the Future Centre Trust at the last moment saying he had more important commitments. Lowe sent no stand-in. No Ministry of the Environment personnel responded to invitations either – and no politicians from any party showed up during the planning or on the day of the event.
The Barbados DLP Government of Prime Minister David Thompson did do one thing though: the DLP denied a duty waiver on the green shopping bags imported as part of No Plastic Bag Day.
That’s right folks – despite the Future Centre Trust’s point that over $10 million dollars is spent every year to clean the drains of plastic bags, the David Thompson Government couldn’t see any further than the duty & tax revenues from the sale of green shopping bags.
Consequently, the bags had to be priced several dollars higher than the intended $3 price point, so fewer were purchased and used by members of the public.
Thanks for nothing to Environment Minister Denis Lowe, the Ministry of the Environment and the government of Prime Minister David Thompson!
It is a sad irony that during the past few days the elites have been doing the champagne and finger-food thing at the 1th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-11). They’ve been listening to Jonathan Tourtellot, Director of the National Geographic Centre for Sustainable Destinations, telling folks about the importance of community involvement and initiatives.
Is it too much to hope that Mr Tourtellot might see this article and understand that what is SAID by Barbados Government officials bears no link to what is DONE or NOT DONE by the Barbados Government?
Expose the disconnect between what is said by the Government of Barbados and what is actually done!
I wonder if any of our readers will send this article and other recent articles on the environmental failures of the Barbados Government to Mr. Tourtellot? Only when our elected and appointed government officials come to know that there is accountability will they get serious about the environment and stop faking it to grab those international aid dollars.
Barbados doesn’t have any environmental protection legislation. No mandatory recycling or local pickup. Zero controls or standards on hazardous chemicals. Zero environmental standards or enforcement. We’re building on every available inch of the West Coast and deliberately destroying the last mangrove wetlands so the majority of the surrounding watershed can be sold to developers. Previously protected environmentally sensitive land at Graeme Hall has already been re-zoned to allow development.
How does all that square with fine words by government officials this week in Bridgetown and New York?
Let the world know the reality. That’s the only way things will get any better.
Here’s Mr. Tourtellot’s email. We’ll fill in the emails from the other speakers at the conference as we find them… Continue reading