City Manager’s Newsletter – 3rd June, 2008
Road Town and You!
If you wish to post a banner in Road Town, please be reminded that they are prohibited on the Road Town Roundabout and on the Walter Francis Highway. Please apply to the Office of the City Manager or the Town and Country Planning Department for permission to post any banner or other sign around the capital.
Traffic Courtesy Tip!
Stopping to pick somebody up or to let someone out? If there’s somewhere to pull over, do it. Some roads have no pull-over space but even when there is such a space, many drivers don’t take advantage of it, forcing other motorists to pull out around them into oncoming traffic. That can be dangerous!
An exciting new partnership between the public and private sector aims to reduce the number of plastic bags being used by Virgin Islanders and thus eliminate their appearance on the Territory’s streets and public spaces. This unique collaboration between the Office of the City Manager, First Bank, One Mart, Rite Way, Bobby’s and the Conservation and Fisheries Department was announced yesterday, 2nd June and will launch on Friday, 6th June, the day after World Environment Day.
To assure the success of this initiative, we’ve asked several local celebrities to join the effort to limit the use of plastic bags by serving as baggers between the hours of 3:00pm and 6:00pm. Some of the participating celebrities include Ouida, Hon. Irene Penn-O’Neal, Hon. Andrew Fahie, DJ Bertrum, Lelani Stevens, Dr., the Hon. Vincent Scatliffe, Hon. Vernon Malone, Fr. Ronald Branche, Hon. Dancia Penn, Archie Christian, Tamara Gill, Lorna Smith, Elton Georges, Richard ‘Storm’ Wright and Edju En Ka. Each “celebrity bagger” has agreed to serve at their station for a minimum of one hour and will promote the environmental and other benefits of using the re-usable bags each time clients shop. To encourage the use of the bags, the participating supermarkets will offer clients a discount of ten cents each time they return to shop with their bag. The receipt showing their discount will certify their eligibility to enter the quarterly drawings for fabulous prizes which will be held by the supermarkets.
If you volunteered to serve as a bagger but haven’t received your assignment, please call my office or reply to this email. If you haven’t been contacted but are interested in promoting the use of the bags, we’d also like to hear from you.
Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year. Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. Unfortunately, plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest them. In addition, the bags wrap around living corals quickly "suffocating" and killing them according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. None of the plastic bags in the Virgin Islands are recycled. Worldwide only one percent of the billions of bags used annually are recycled.
Tanzania has been the most aggressive African country in the fight against the plastic bag blight. In 2006 Vice-President Ali Mohamed Shein declared a total ban on plastic bags. Kenya and Uganda are implementing less severe restrictions, prohibiting thinner plastic bags and imposing levies on thicker ones. According to the BBC, Kenya's partial ban went into effect on June 14, 2007, and Uganda followed on July 1.
The Republic of Ireland was consuming 1.2 billion plastic shopping bags per year before introducing the PlasTax. Since the tax of about $.15 per bag was introduced in March 2002, consumption has plummeted 90%. To complete the win-win cycle, the $9.6 million raised from the tax in the first year is put into a "green fund" to further benefit the environment
From the Road Town Fact File
Cholera, yellow fever, leprosy and various illnesses that one doesn’t hear much about nowadays were quite common in the Virgin Islands up to the early 1900s. A plaque in Long Bush commemorates the 942 people who died in the local cholera epidemic of 1863.
Get your re-usable bag and bring it with you the next time you shop at any participating supermarket and earn a chance to win a prize. Call the Office of the City Manager at 468-4280 for more information! Go Green!