Today’s posting comes from Roseau, Dominica (not shown in picture):
015.292121 N -061.38382 W and, yes, we’re on the water.
We’re back! Yes, I’m back online and posting from the Caribbean once more; as I continue the island tour with Norton and Carol (the captain and his first mate). We began one week ago, in Antigua, setting out from English Harbor. We have only been asking for general trash-related information, so now official interviews have taken place, yet. I look forward to doing that again as well – although, I’m still far away from posting any podcasts. To-date, we started at Antigua, went to Guadeloupe, stopped at Iles des Saintes and are now at Dominica… as we make our way south.
Antigua was more of a “let’s get started stop,” where we spent our time there simply enjoying a hike here and there, before setting out (and sitting down) for our sail to Guadeloupe. In Guadeloupe, where I got to use my French, we found that they do recycle there, and only because it is funded by the EU and France. Not all of the islands have this luxury, and who knows how much longer that will last, as the price of oil rises. All the same, it was good to see some effort being made to better manage waste; in contrast, Iles des Saintes had been dumping its waste off of a cliff – literally! However, that bad habit has come to its very-real end, because they closed the dump/cliff site and are promoting recycling across their island. Of course, with their local dump closed, what’s a waste manager to do? Well, what else, other than ship it somewhere else?
The catch for the islands, of course, is that “somewhere else” means quite literally shipping it, on a cargo ship, to a destination of choice; preferably somewhere close by, like Basse Terre, Guadeloupe (all the same nation), where they then further process it, or combine it, to then be shipped elsewhere too – the mother nation of France!
Does this all sound expensive? You bet it is! However, this is not unlike what is happening in the U.S. except we have places like Nevada, or any neighboring state with more open spaces and a lower fee for waste disposal; Here is how Hawaii is handling its excess of waste. Needless to say, it is not an ideal situation for all involved.
Dominica is still managing its own waste, without recycling, but there are only 70,000-ish people living here, on a relatively large island. There is some open-burning going on (leaving an unpleasant odor in the air), so who is to say how things will progress (or regress). They’re smart in recognizing the fact that tourism is a major industry that’s important to them. Hopefully the government will support what is necessary, in keeping their island nation clean and attractive to foreign travelers.
Norton and Carol found a handy suggestion to all of those who travel to the islands. When you go on shore, ask people there if they recycle and, if there is litter, comment on how it looks to you; go to the office of tourism, if there is one, and some cruising/touring operations ask for feedback – so put that to good use. On most islands, waste-management officials need more political support for recycling and general waste management, which is only heard through the voices of cash-laden tourists. So, if you ask for it, it may come!
Again, we’re all a lot alike, when it comes to the universally-shared activities in our lives: eating, drinking, and creating waste (among other things).