By Makeida Antonio
Plastic bottles will soon be recycled locally at a new facility designed to manage and eliminate their negative environmental impact, both on land and in oceans.
Minister of Health, Wellness and Environment Molwyn Joseph revealed that land is currently being cleared in the Cassada Gardens area as the first step in the process of facilitating this initiative.
“We were given a piece of land by the government, close to the horse race track going up to New Winthorpes. The land is being cleared and we are working with [Antigua and Barbuda Waste Recycling Corporation] ABWREC to put down a recycling plant because we are confident now that we can get into the business of recycling,” Joseph told Observer during the launch of a compost facility at Cooks Sanitary Landfill on Tuesday.
For a small fee, residents collectively handed in more than 600,000 plastic bottles to Epicurean Drive and other collection centres in only four months. The collection was an initiative coordinated by the Department of Environment through ABWREC.
Joseph disclosed that the government already possesses moulds which will be used to make beach chairs, lawn chairs and other items from the recycled plastics.
“When you collect 660,000 plastic bottles in such short time, it would be best and more economical for us to be able to recycle them in Antigua rather than sending them to Mexico. That is what we are doing now, so that is one of the benefits of diversifying the manner in which you manage waste in this country,” he said.
The Environment Minister pointed to the elimination of single use plastic bags in Antigua and Barbuda as an indication that this venture will also be successful.