Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake is very pleased to learn that the marine community has accepted his initiative appeal for a coastal clean-up of hurricane related debris due to the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo from inland waterways and lagoons. The clean-up is slated for December 6th weekend.
Representatives from the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA), Nature Foundation, St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies, Maritime Affairs Authority, Ministry VROMI, met recently with Minister Lake to discuss the minister’s initiative and how to move forward from a logistical and planning perspective.
The Minister was informed that the process to remove boats that are partially sunk is on-going since after the passing of the hurricane mid-October. A majority of the boats have been removed.
The clean-up and removal of hurricane related debris within the lagoon is scheduled for the weekend of December 6th. This clean-up campaign would include the marine sector, general public volunteers, other private sector companies as well as schools that have community service programs.
“I am very pleased with the interests and cooperation from all stakeholders concerned. On November 10 we had a very good meeting and this will be a successful clean-up of the lagoon. I call on other businesses to join the clean-up effort of our lagoon by contacting the SMMTA,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.
Nature Foundation in an assessment after the passing of hurricane Gonzalo noted that approximately three dozen boats sunk and that there was significant debris such as wood, fiberglass and other solid materials.
The initiative of Minister Lake for the clean-up is based on this assessment as well as the upcoming high tourist season.
“Mega yachts will be arriving in the coming weeks as we move into the high tourist season. You also have tour companies that offer tours on or via the lagoon, and they will see the debris either floating around or along the shoreline. It wouldn’t be a pretty picture.
“It’s our environment, and our responsibility as well as the responsibility of stakeholders to take care of it and keep it clean. I do hope the lagoon clean-up will become an annual affair,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.
Various marinas along with Simpson Bay Lagoon will be providing boats, work rafts, and equipment to assist with the clean-up.