IN ITS continued efforts to protect the environment, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has launched an Environmental Charter aimed at reducing the amount of plastic used on the island.
Chairman of the BHTA, Roseanne Myers, explained that the Association recognized the increasing threat the excessive use of plastic products was having on the island’s environment and public health.
She said: “Thousands of plastic bags, Styrofoam boxes and a large number of related products are discarded by Barbadians daily and many of them end up blocking our drains, clogging our beautiful gullies and smothering our coral reefs.
“As an Association we wanted to play our role in assisting with the reduction of this use and the launch of our Charter is the first step. We will be looking at renewables and other environmental concerns in the near future.”
During the launch of the Charter at the BHTA’s recent Quarterly General Meeting, the Association’s Environmental Committee Chairman, Andre Miller, explained that close to 40 members had signed on so far.
He noted that since 1996 he has been involved in underwater clean-ups across the island and at the time these were annual and collected approximately 100 pounds of garbage: “Now we have several clean-ups a year and we collect thousands of pounds of garbage - mainly plastics, Styrofoam, straws and other non-biodegradable materials. This should be a concern for all Barbadians – we must all do better. As an Association we should be leading the way and this is what we are doing with the launch of this Charter.”
By signing the charter BHTA members have committed to reducing the plastic usage in their establishments by focusing on a number of practices including avoiding the use of disposable plastic items including cutlery, aprons, hats and Styrofoam; returning guests’ laundry in baskets rather than plastic bags and purchasing concentrated cleaning products in bulk, among others.They have also agreed to pass on the message by educating employees and guess/customers on the ways to reduce plastic use and encouraging them to utilise some of the practices in their homes.