FROM a resort-wide lights-out to distributing some 10,000 reusable bags, the Sandals Foundation got involved in support of Earth Day 2017.
As sustainability issues continue to dominate the conversation in developing countries such as Saint Lucia, where the very real threats posed to the environment can no longer be ignored, Sandals Resorts International and the Sandals Foundation remain at the forefront of activities to raise environmental awareness.
Sandals Foundation has noted the warnings of the Plastic Oceans Foundation and Sea Turtle Conservancy that every year 14 billion pounds of trash — most of it being plastic — is dumped into the world’s oceans. These plastics never go away and directly result in the deaths of 100,000 marine animals each year as they become entangled in or ingest these non-biodegradable substances. Plastic pollution is equally harmful to people, since water absorbs the pollutants that are highly toxic and dangerous to human health.
To mark World Earth Day on April 22, Sandals Foundation in keeping with its environmental mandate, is proactively promoting reusable shopping bags as a sustainable replacement to single-use plastics. Through the distribution of 10,000 reusable bags across eight Caribbean islands in communities and areas highly traversed by shoppers, the Foundation hopes to educate the public on how a simple decision to do away with non-biodegradable plastics can make a huge impact on environmental preservation. Each recipient of a shopping bag will be asked to sign a pledge, indicating their willingness to play their part to protect the environment they call home.
Jonathan Hernould, Environmental Officer of Sandals Foundation, commented on the drive behind the initiative: “Approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags are used per year, that is 1 million every minute. These single-use plastics are in the top 10 items collected every year on international coastal clean-up day! Humans have adopted a ‘throw away mentality’ which is devastating to our environment. Through our education campaign and by distributing reusable shopping bags in communities across the Caribbean, we hope that we can start to reduce our dependency on single-use bags, thus reducing the amount of plastic in our waste stream and our oceans.”
Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia also supported the efforts of the Foundation by going dark on April 22 as team members and guests were advised to power down all energy-using devices, including lights. This gesture helped highlight the need for energy conversation and focus on the efforts to develop and sustain renewable sources of energy.
The award-winning resort chain also capitalized on its “Reunion Week”, where long-staying return guests were asked to support the Foundation’s efforts by purchasing and setting afloat biodegradable water lanterns as a mark of respect for the environment.
The Sandals Foundation is engaged in and committed to environmental awareness, developing effective conservation practices and teaching future generations how to care for their communities and preserve their surroundings.