As the world observed July 3rd as International No Plastic Bag Day, there is growing awareness of the negative ecological and aesthetic impact of improper disposal of single-use plastics. In response, the governments of the member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) sub-region have been instituting policies, programmes, and legislative measures in their respective jurisdictions, to address this challenge.
The two-year Pilot Plastic Recycling project (RePLAST – OECS), is aimed at setting-up and testing systems for the collection and management of plastic waste from target communities in Saint Lucia; and to provide support to local recyclers to facilitate the export of used plastic bottles for recycling, particular to the SIDREP plant in Martinique. The project will be piloted in select districts in Saint Lucia and also seeks to raise awareness of the ecological issues surrounding managing and selectively sorting recyclable waste. As an OECS pilot, the project will also provide key lessons and case studies for replication in the rest of Saint Lucia and the sub-region.
The project is being implemented by UNITE Caribbean (UC), which is a Caribbean cooperation and development consulting firm, with the primary objective of providing support for sustainable social and economic development of the Caribbean through regional technical cooperation. This project is being spearheaded from the UC office in Saint Lucia with support from the other nodes, especially the Martinique office. As the implementing agency, they are responsible for managing the grant and ensuring efficient deliverable of the objectives; including coordinating the support and collaboration of numerous local and regional partners.
The project is being funded primarily by the Ministry of European and External Affairs, Government of the Republic of France, through its Saint Lucia-based embassy to the OECS and Barbados, with a grant of €830,000.00, but with significant counterpart support (in-kind and funding) from the GOSL, the private sector, and civil society. In this regard, the project has secured commitments of support from a range of agencies, including the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA) and Massy Foods from the private sector; development partners such as the GIZ/CATs project, the OECS Commission and the St. Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLNCF); and the St. Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority (SLSWMA). In Martinique, technical assistance is being received from SIDREP and the Agence de l’environnementet de la maîtrise de l’énergie (ADEME).
Meanwhile, planning is proceeding apace for the project launch, which will include a formal opening ceremony and a workshop, scheduled for July 24-25 at the Finance Administration Centre in Pointe Seraphine. The launch/workshop is intended to provide a forum for key project stakeholders to review and validate the first year workplan and operational details. Among the invited speakers for the opening ceremony are, Dr.Didacus Jules, OECS Director General; H.E. Philippe Ardanaz, Ambassador of France to OECS & Barbados; and Gale Rigobert, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Sustainable Development, who will deliver the feature address.