BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, July 4, 2022 (MMS-SKN) — Shoppers at five supermarkets on St. Kitts received free environmentally-friendly reusable shopping bags on Saturday July 2, as the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council (SDC) kicked off the month-long ‘St. Kitts Plastic Free July (PFJ) 2022’ activities that are aimed at sensitising the public on the dangers posed to the environment by single-use plastics.
“We tried to get persons who were entering the supermarkets to accept one of our reusable shopping bags, having answered our very brief survey which was seven questions,” said Chair of St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, Mrs Diannille Taylor-Williams. “They then would be given a reusable shopping bag to use, alternate to the plastic shopping bags that are being distributed in the supermarkets.”
The exercise was carried out by members of the Sustainable Destination Council, both from the public and private sectors, who were assisted by members of the government’s Support for the Advancement of Future Education (SAFE) Volunteers Programme.
Distribution locations were at the King’s Pavilion Supermarket on Bay Road in downtown Basseterre, Ram’s Supermarket in Bird Rock, Valu Mart Supermarket on Wellington Road, B’s Enterprise Superette in Sandy Point, and Fraites’ Supermarket in Molineux.
“In addition to giving out reusable shopping bags, our aim was also to conduct two surveys, one which was about to get people’s perception and their opinions on the plastic situation in the island,” noted Mrs Taylor-Williams.
The second survey was to count the number of plastic bags that were leaving the supermarkets, which was carried out by the volunteers who engaged patrons of the supermarkets, the ones who did not have a reusable bag, to find out how many plastic bags they received on leaving the supermarket.
“What surprised me though was that after our 12:00 o’clock hour, we still had a few bags left, and so we started giving the bags to persons asking them if they would help us to keep St. Kitts plastic free, and there were people who actually refused the free reusable shopping bag,” she lamented. “This was sort of surprising to us, but I think with more education and more awareness, people would begin to understand the problem that plastics are to us as a people, and to our environment. As people who promote sustainable tourism to our livelihoods, the impact will be great.”
She assumed that the reaction by shoppers who turned down the offer was more a matter of them not having enough information and the understanding of the challenges that plastics pose to the country. She assured that the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council will continue in its education and awareness activities throughout the year.
“Yes, this is Plastic Free July, but this is just part of a year-round, five-year project called ‘Plastic Be-Gone’, where we are encouraging persons to take and do the right things – take their right actions, even one action, so that we all become a step closer to becoming a plastic free destination,” pointed out Chair of St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council.
Mrs Diannille Taylor-Williams was stationed at the King’s Pavilion Supermarket along with Ms Chenette James, a St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council affiliate and supporter, and SAFE volunteers, Mr Dajaun Jacobs, Mr T’Shaun Douglas, Miss Druccanna Francis, Mr Asean Woodely, and Mr Stephon Dasent. Among persons who received the reusable bags from them included Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, and Minister of Health et al, the Hon Akilah Byron.
At the Ram’s Supermarket in Bird Rock were Sustainable Tourism Coordinator Mr Kenney Manning, Private sector member of the SDC, Ms Kaii Dias of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga, and SAFE volunteers, Miss Javicia Cannonier, and Mr Divonte Liburd.
The team at Valu Mart Supermarket was led by SDC member Mr Kharim Saddler, who was accompanied by a member of the public sector from the Ministry of Tourism, Mr Royden Isaac. Others were General Manager of Sunset Reef Resort, Mr Marc Schneider, who is a member of the SDC from the private sector, and his team of Mrs Christine Schneider, Mr Alex Nobert, Ms Sonja Thorsvick, and Lavern Stevens.
Mr Mark Handley of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council was at the Fraites’ Supermarket in Molineux along with SDC private sector member Ms Sarah Ramirez, and SAFE volunteers Mr Tarike Davis, Miss Shavancil Sharry, and Mr Tahzmiel Hamm.
Over in Sandy Point at the B’s Enterprise Superette, were Mr Javid Buchanan from Holistic Education Research & Conservation (HERC) which is a member of the SDC, Ms Alana Mitchum, a teacher at the Verchilds High School who is also a member of the SDC, and SAFE Volunteers Miss Danisha Bergan, Miss Charline Marks, and Miss Juyvonna Jeffrey.