|Plastic free: World Environment Day June 4|
|Thursday, 02 June 2011 09:41|
This weekend the world will be celebrating World Environment Day, and we will be doing our part to honour our environment right here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
World Environment Day (WED) is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action.
WED celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.
The Turks and Caicos Environmental Club (TCEC) is sponsoring a “Day without plastic.” The group, which consists of a dedicated group of resident volunteers who share a common respect for the environment, started a campaign last March in preparation for Earth Day to ban single use plastic bags in the TCI.
Locations participating in the “Day without plastic” campaign June 4 include Graceway Gourmet, Graceway IGA, Island Pride, Quality Supermarket downtown, Quality Supermarket on Leeward Highway, Price Club, Building Materials and KB Homes.
While it may seem like a lofty goal, the group is confident once people are aware of the damage the bags are doing to the local flora and fauna as well as marine life, they will be happy to bring their own reusable bags.
Even for those who aren’t environmentalists, the practical fact that each reusable bag can fit three to four times the amount of groceries as a plastic bag provides great incentive.
“We are simply asking people to bring their own shopping bags when patronizing local shops, especially the local grocery stores,” explains Stacie Steensland, TCEC member and creative designer. Steensland stresses that the design of the plastic bag is one of the poorest known to modern technology in that its practical application is intended for mere minutes, from the time you pay for your goods until the time the reach your destination, while their actual lifespan extends hundreds of years past our own.
On Earth Day the group asked major food retailer Graceway Trading, which owns and operates both the Graceway IGA and Graceway Gourmet, to help encourage customers to avoid plastic bags in favor of reusable ones.
“We were pleased with the response we received from customers, who were happy to see us encouraging the use of reusable bags,” manager Ken Burns told the fp.
Single-use bags represent a major threat to the environment, particularly in our own very fragile one. Not only do they take nearly 1,000 years to disintegrate in a landfill, often they make their way to the ocean where they can be misinterpreted as food by marine animals and seabirds.
The Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation estimates that a million birds and more than 100,000 turtles and marine mammals are killed each year by ingesting single use plastics. That’s a staggering statistic when one considers it is preventable with care and simple common sense.
Bringing your own reusable bags when shopping can help prevent these bags from polluting our environment both on land and in the sea.
One of the challenges on these small islands is obtaining reusable bags. The TCEC encourages individuals to buy their reusable cotton bags locally at the Turks and Caicos National Trust to support both organizations and their shared goals. For those companies desiring a large order of custom printed reusable bags, the TCEC has a well researched list of eco-friendly styles and suppliers they are happy to provide.
For the WED event, the TCEC turned to the local business community for donations and were overwhelmed by more than 800 reusable shopping bags given through generous local organizations.
“Bags have been donated by WIV, PPC, Grace Bay Realty, Grace Bay Resorts, the Veranda, British West Indies Collegiate and KB Homes,” Steensland said.
On Saturday, June 4, in celebration of World Environment Day, the TCEC will be asking its volunteers to hand out the bags at eight retailers who have agreed to refrain from using plastic bags on the day.
“Our goal is to be at each of these locations from 9 a.m. to noon to distribute the free reusable shopping bags to the community and talk to individuals about why plastic bags are harmful to the environment,” she explained.
There are so many ways you can help this WED.
Plastic bag facts
|Last Updated on Thursday, 02 June 2011 09:52|
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