photo: Recycle for Saba

THE BOTTOM – Even though Saba has a recycling plant since 2015 – making Saba the first of the three Dutch BES-islands to recycle waste material – a lot of Sabans still don’t recycle.

“I’ve witnessed people leaving bottles on the wall, as well as garbage collectors combining both recyclable and non-recyclable garbage together”, says concerned Fireman Calvin Simmons.

Simmons adds: “Government should encourage the community to see for themselves of what is going on at the plant. Less recycling creates more work for the workers and more to burn. Fines will not help without the enforcement of the law. Also, rewards should be given to those who actually want to recycle.”

Recycle for Saba campaign.

Past campaign
Natasha Klaber, a past intern that worked on the Recycling Plant in 2016: “Within six weeks, myself along with my team members informed the residents, businesses, schools and cleaning companies on the importance of recycling and how to recycle. But it was surprising to know that so many people on the island didn’t recycle.”

The Commissioner of Finance and Infrastructure, Bruce Zagers, says improving waste management has been a top priority for him. “During the next year, there will be many community outreach activities to help stimulate recycling. While there have been some road bumps since this process began, recycling is a big change for the Saba community.”

‘New way of life’
In fact, it is a new way of life, according to Zagers. “We expect that there would be an adjustment period. We are on the right track now and believe that we will see some big improvements in the recycling process during the upcoming months.”

He continued: “We are aware of the issue of waste streams getting mixed, and this is another reason why a communication campaign is needed and currently being developed. Additionally, soon there will be some changes within the collection itself and the collection schedule, which will make the process more efficient.”

Bottles left in Child Focus grounds. Photo: Child Focus Foundation

Educating children
Child Focus Foundation Saba has decided to encourage children to bring their own water bottle to activities organised by the Foundation. Child Focus believes in the principle, “Jong geleerd, oud gedaan”, meaning when children are taught to care about their environment, they will continue to take better care of it when they are adults.

Children can have their water bottle refilled with water and are also reminded to pick up their litter after playing outside. “This is the most challenging at the moment, since children insufficiently take responsibility for their litter”, according to the foundation.