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St. Kitts Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) may be setting a trend as it relates to recycling plastic bottles in our schools

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Tyasha Henry, Collections Officer at the SWMC

The St. Kitts Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) may be setting a trend as it relates to recycling plastic bottles in our school. On Monday, the on official from the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), told journalists from the Caribbean and Pacific that Caribbean countries can adopt examples of countries in the Pacific in recycling plastic and reducing its harmful effects to the environment.

There has been at least one initiative in St. Kitts to help recycling pet bottles and cardboard. The (SWMC) in 2018, started a recycling program in some of the island’s schools. Tyasha Henry, Collections Officer at the SWMC attended a JICA Workshop in 2017 and upon her return, was inspired to spearhead the project. 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.

Addressing the journalists on a Japan Fellowship, Kenichiro Koiwa of the Environmental Management Team, Global Environment Department from JICA 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. JICA is assisting some of those countries in the Pacific with some good results. Mr. Koiwa suggested this can be done through a mechanism known as Container Deposit Legislation (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. 

Mr. Koiwa’s presentation on Monday 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 the international markets, inconvenience of transportation, insufficient space for waste disposal, and a lack of a functional recycle market/system. He said there is an urgent need in island economies to reduce waste and shift to the circular economy.

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