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By: Andre Huie
A recycling initiative by the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) in some of the primary and high schools on the island, is being seen as one of the examples of jumpstarting recycling in the Caribbean. An official from the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) recently called for Caribbean countries to adopt examples of countries in the Pacific as it relates to recycling plastic and reducing its harmful effects to the environment. Kenichiro Koiwa of the Environmental Management Team, Global Environment Department, while addressing a journalism fellowship in Japan, suggested that the successful recycling initiatives known as the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) being implemented in some Pacific countries, could be adopted to fit the needs of small Caribbean island states, thus recycling PET bottles and single use plastic.
Little did Mr. Koiwa know that an official from the SWMC has already commenced such an initiative. The St. Kitts Solid Waste Management Corporation, or SWMC, started a recycling program in 2018 in some of the island’s schools. Tyasha Henry, Collections Officer at the SWMC, attended a JICA Workshop in 2017 and returned to the island inspired to start her own recycling program in the island’s schools. It was done in conjunction with local recycling company Admirals. At that time, she expressed hope that the project would encourage students to begin learning to separate waste and recycle.
Mr. Koiwa, during his briefing suggested that recycling could be done through a mechanism known as Container Deposit Legislation, or CDL. CDL involves compensating persons for returning plastic bottles at designated collection centers. That system has been working well in Palau and the Marshall Islands, Mr. Koiwa disclosed. “I think Caribbean countries can enter the CDL system,” Mr. Koiwa said.
The JICA Official was doing a presentation to journalists who are part of the Journalism Fellowship program in Tokyo sponsored by the Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC), a Tokyo-based private foundation. His presentation focused on JICA’s Assistance in Waste Management and its approach to environmental issues. He was keen to point out the challenges Small Island States face when it comes to the 3Rs, including limited access to international markets, inconvenience of transportation, insufficient space for waste disposal, and a lack of a functional recycle market or system. He said there is an urgent need in island economies to reduce waste and shift to the circular economy.
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