The OECS Commission has drafted an Incentive Framework aimed at encouraging private sector involvement and investments in efforts to reduce marine litter in the region. This was done through ReMLit – the Reduction in Marine Litter Project. A recent study found OECS Coastal waters contain four times the global average of marine litter. This worrying revelation signaled the urgent need to get the business community more involved in the fight to reduce marine litter. It is anticipated that an Incentives Framework designed by ReMLit consultant, Philip Dalsou, could excite businesses to play a part. Mr. Dalsou’ s study found a successful model in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Dwight Hillocks, Founder All Islands Recycling says the St. Vincent initiative diverts 1 million plastic bottles from the environment every month. In the process his company has created 600 jobs – 60% are women – all being paid for harvesting plastic bottles from the environment. Some have received up to $3000 monthly. This venture in St. Vincent is made possible through an Environmental Levy of 50 cents on every plastic bottle. 85% of the deposit -roughly 42 cents – is refunded when the plastic beverage bottle is cleaned and returned by the collector. This model has done wonders for St. Vincent and the Grenadines The returned plastic bottles are shredded and exported as flakes to be recycled. The next stage of the St. Vincent Air Inc project hopes to remove vehicle oil and detergent bottles from the environment. ReMLit consultant Phillip Dalsou says the region needs to urgently consider the proposed incentives framework for the private sector. He says the governments can also urge businesses seeking government contracts to demonstrate a commitment to the environment. The Incentives Framework designed through ReMLit will be presented to OECS governments for consideration and implementation.
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