06th June 2016
Yesterday afternoon (Sun) was splendid in more ways than one as Minister of Health and the Environment Hon. Molwyn Joseph and crew rode into the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, Victoria Park on bicycles in a show of support for the increased use of bicycles as an alternative, more environmentally-friendly form of transportation.
They did so at a ceremony to observe World Environment Day which is celebrated each year on June 5.
The main highlights of Sunday afternoon's event was to bring the audience up to date on government's progress with regards to environmental protection and to award students of a Schools' Logo Design competition. The winning Logo will be placed on thousands of recyclable bags being produced through a collaborative effort of the governments of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Antigua under the banner of National Garment Manufacturing Initiative of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce.
With regards to the impending ban on the use of T-Shirt Plastic bags Minister Joseph said that despite mixed reactions to the initial announcement, he made the first step of inviting the major supermarket stakeholders to a meeting several months ago and the reaction was not only encouraging but the response was what propelled him to this point where he can say with confidence that come July 1, 2016 when the ban comes in effect, the Supermarkets will be well equipped to serve their customers and make available reusable bags.
In further addressing the audience, Minister Joseph declared, ' We must understand that there are certain things in Antigua and Barbuda that are imperative; we cannot play around with our environment ' when you dump a plastic bag in the sea according to scientists sometimes it takes many, many years to biodegrade. And so we have tons of plastics not only in our neighborhoods but choking our mangroves and some of the environmentalists seem to be focusing in another direction and not focusing on the fact that plastics are some of the most dangerous deposits in our environment today.
He said Styrofoam cups will be included in the next phase as government continues to remove harmful elements that destroy the environment.
Also just recently the Minister Joseph said that the cabinet has decided that the department should undertake a program to plant 60 thousand trees in Antigua and Barbuda starting Arbor Month.
He said the propagation process has started and he is inviting those involved in the propagation of plants to register with the Department of Environment in order to reach this target.
In order to address lethal yellowing phenomenon that has destroyed thousands of coconut palms, Minister Joseph said that the government has decided to purchase 50 thousand coconut seedlings to be planted here.
Also 90 thousand plants are to be planted during 2016.
Other major announcements for continued environmental projection are plans to redevelop and redesign Victoria Park with the help of the Queen's Jubilee Celebrations Committee.
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