|Editorial (Jan. 31, 2013)|
|Wednesday, 30 January 2013 15:45|
Fingers crossed for recycling
A recently drafted recycling proposal shows what can be achieved when government collaborates closely with service groups. Now, we hope the teamwork will continue so that the proposal can be realised.
Recycling has long been a daunting challenge here, even as it has become the norm in larger developed countries. The stumbling blocks that have stalled many well-meaning efforts include the territory’s small size and its lack of facilities and expertise.
But change may come soon. The government, the non-profit group Green VI and the territory’s Rotary clubs have drafted a proposal for a recycling programme that appears to represent an important step toward sustainability.
To offset the $4 million cost of the initiative’s first two years, the partnership has applied for $2 million in funding from the United Kingdom’s Darwin Plus: Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund. The proposal calls for the remaining $2 million to be raised locally and internationally.
Much of the funding would go toward new facilities, where recyclables would be sorted and bundled for shipping by the Department of Waste Management. Eventually, though, the programme would be tendered to a private recycling company, according to the proposal.
Besides the obvious environmental advantages, a comprehensive recycling programme would have many benefits:
• It would lighten the load on Tortola’s incinerator, which long has been used to burn glass and other materials the facility is not equipped to handle.
• It would help the territory market itself as an eco-friendly destination, catering to tourists who are increasingly concerned about their impact on the environment.
• It would help bring the Virgin Islands’ outdated waste-management system into the 21st Century.
• It reportedly would create an estimated 20 to 50 new jobs, a welcome boost to the economy during this time of high unemployment.
At this point, however, the programme is by no means a sure thing. The first hurdle is obtaining funding from Darwin Plus, from which organisers expect to hear word as early as March. But even if that grant comes through, the territory will need to raise a substantial sum on its own.
In the coming months, we trust that the current government, which promised during its 2011 election campaign to bring a recycling programme to the VI, will continue to provide the necessary support to bring this initiative to fruition.
In this day and age, recycling should be a given.