V.I. Conservation Society, DPNR Launch VI Clean Coasts Campaign Against Plastic

Recycling plastic bottles

The Virgin Islands Conservation Society (VICS) in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Division of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) has announced the launch of the VI Clean Coasts campaign starting Aug. 1.

Ocean plastic is a growing disaster and tackling it has unprecedented support from consumers of all walks of life who are calling for business and government to take steps to significantly reduce plastic pollution and turn off the tap of plastic pollution. Plastic does not biodegrade, it photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces and can remain in the environment indefinitely.

The VI Clean Coasts certification is a local initiative intended to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in the U.S.V.I. Single use plastics are detrimental to the environment, impacting every part of the ocean food chain and posing great risks to the personal health of the community.

The VI Clean Coast program encourages businesses to take a proactive approach to ‘greening’ their practices by offering environmental certification and grants to incentivize the implementation of changes leading to the elimination of single-use plastics. As the sponsor of this initiative, DPNR is phasing out single use plastics cups from its offices and switching to paper or cardboard cups. Employees are encouraged to use reusable cups and the department has already supplied dozens to its staff members.

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The campaign aims to:
1. Celebrate existing green practices
2. Get educated and educate others about single-use plastics
3. Conduct impact surveys of businesses and exchange of best practices (Idea bank)
4. Aid in making acceptable changes through free consultations and the use of sub-awards
5. Award certification according to level of compliance achieved and public recognition.

Plastic pollution as seen from underwater

Take the Pledge — Businesses are encouraged to register for a free program at https://dpnr.vi.gov/czm/programs-viczmp/vi-clean-coasts/. All businesses registered by Sept. 28 will be eligible to apply for seed grants from CZM to assist with making necessary changes such as purchasing paper straws, reusable bags, reusable cups, utensils, etc.

For more information, contact Valerie Peters at [email protected] or Kristina Edwards at [email protected]

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