Ocean plastic is a growing disaster, and tackling it has unprecedented support from consumers from all walks of life, who are calling for business and government to urgently take steps to significantly reduce plastic pollution and turn off the tap of plastic pollution.  Plastic does not biodegrade, it photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces and can remain in the environment indefinitely.

The Virgin Islands Conservation Society in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Department of Planning & Natural Resources Division of Coastal Zone Management have launched the “VI Clean Coasts” certification to reduce the influx of single-use plastic in the USVI.  Single use plastics are detrimental to the environment, impacting every part of the ocean food chain as well as pose great risks to personal health of the VI community.

The VI Clean Coast program encourages businesses to take a proactive approach to “greening” their practices by offering environmental certification and grants to incentives the implementation of changes leading to the elimination of single-use plastics starting with expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam).  As the sponsor of this initiative DPNR is phasing out single use plastics cups from its offices and switching to paper or cardboard cups.  Employees are encouraged to use reusable cups and the department has already supplied dozens to its staff members.

The campaign aims to:

 

  1. Reduce single-use plastics in the US Virgin Island including expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam)
  2. Celebrate existing green practices
  3. Get educated and educate others about single-use plastics
  4. Conduct impact surveys of businesses and exchange of best practices (Idea bank)
  5. Aid in making sustainable changes through free consultations and the use of sub-awards
  6. Award certification according to level of compliance achieved and public recognition.

Stay up to date on certified businesses!

TAKE THE PLEDGE – Businesses are encouraged to register for this Free program at https://dpnr.vi.gov/czm/programs-viczmp/vi-clean-coasts/.  All businesses registered by September 28th will be eligible to apply for seed grants from CZM to assist with making necessary changes such as purchasing paper straws, reusable bags, reusable cups, utensils….

For more information, please contact Valerie Peters at blueflagusvi@gmail.com

 


Educational Links:

Plastic pollution Coalition – http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

National geographic – https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/planetorplastic/

Story of bottle water – https://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-bottled-water/

Patagonia polybags study – https://www.patagonia.com/blog/2014/07/patagonias-plastic-packaging-a-study-on-the-challenges-of-garment-delivery/

Forbes article – How The Travel Industry Is Cutting Down on Single-Use Plastics   https://www.forbes.com/sites/micheleherrmann/2018/07/05/how-the-travel-industry-is-cutting-down-on-plastic-usage/#2da123924df9

Forbes article – A better way to drink and reduce plastic ocean pollution – https://www.forbes.com/sites/allisonolms/2018/04/19/will-earth-day-change-the-way-you-drink/