Today we knew it was a long day on land and we didn’t forget to start with a big jump in the water as first thing! The first swim in the morning from the boat at 7.30am is always the best!
After a big breakfast on board and 15 minutes drive we arrived at the landfill DELGOS to learn and see how the solid waste is managed on the island. It is never a nice place to visit but we’ve learnt the island manages the waste much better than other places. All the waste is collected and separated into household, commercial, organic waste and tyres. However when we asked about recycling plastic they said the process is too expensive for the volume they have in the island because it has to be sent to china for processing. It was nice to hear that there is a private company who tries to recycle plastic, which also partners with the government to achieve this goal. Governments and regulations play a big role in waste management.
During the second visit we met with David Hippolyte from St. Lucia National Conservation Authority. He explained to us that the island is divided in zones and each zone is responsible to remove the waste coming from the ocean and keep the place clean. But he also showed us a hidden place where nobody is responsible for where the plastic collects and it was pretty nasty and sad. It was full of bottles, cups, plastic containers, and styrofoam. David said we should change our focus from “beautification” to health and well-being. The people in the field see and understand how big the problem is and how things are shifting from cleaning the waste to prevent all this to happen.
After this we were all ready to give a presentation about who we are and what we do to 2 schools – St. Lucia International School and GROS ISLET local school. It is always fascinating to see how young generations get interested about this big plastic issue. Not surprisingly no one was aware of the toxicity and the consequences that plastic can cause to our environment and health.
At this point we were ready to go back on board and get ready for our long sail to Dominica. We are going to leave at midnight and everyone is excited to head north and to start the first navigation of Leg 2.