Simpson Bay–Recently the well-known bar and restaurant Topper’s switched to using only reusable and biodegradable products instead of environmentally damaging single-use plastics. Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern presented the Reduce and Reuse St Maarten project to Staff members of Topper’s, explaining them about the harmful effects of single-use plastics on our environment, ourselves and on marine life and what can be done to reduce single-use plastic usage.
“At least 9 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans each year, 96% of all marine biodiversity is vulnerable to this plastic pollution. Half of all sea turtles mistake plastic for food and 90% of all sea birds ingest plastic. If current trends continue, a lot of marine life will die and there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Single use plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic cups, balloons, cutlery and Styrofoam food containers are some of the most environmentally damaging products on our island; these items do not biodegrade and stay in the ecosystem and oceans forever. They release a variety of chemicals during degradation, which have a negative impact on organisms, us and our ecosystems. New research even shows that plastic breakdown accelerates greenhouse gas production in the environment” explained Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Nature Foundation applauds Topper’s Bar and Restaurant, and several other businesses which already switched to reusable and biodegradable alternatives instead of single-use plastics, such as Dinghy Dock Bar, Buccaneers Beach Bar, Lagoonies and Coconut Reef Tours, for the initiative to go green. These responsible businesses will contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable St Maarten for future generations.
Recently several businesses were requested by the Nature Foundation to switch to reusable and biodegradable alternatives instead of using single-use plastics. “We did not receive any response yet, however we hope that the invited businesses are thinking about the opportunity and will switch eventually to a more environmental friendly product. In the coming months more and more businesses, tour operators and organizations on St Maarten will be requested to make the switch as well and go green” continued Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Anyone interested in receiving more information about the impact of single-use plastics and using reusable and biodegradable alternatives instead, can contact the Nature Foundation. Thanks to the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and the Heineken Regatta for their generous donations towards the Reduce and Reuse St Maarten project.