State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven during her visit to Saba on Monday, July 15, was informed about the Fort Bay Harbor project and the waste processing facilities. She also visited the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF).
Following the signing of the declaration of intention with the Public Entity Saba to tackle single-use plastics, the State Secretary was given a presentation by harbor project manager Ton van der Plas who provided an update on the harbor project. Currently, government is exploring the options for an alternative location for the construction of the new harbor at Black Rocks, an area about one kilometer east of Fort Bay Harbor.
The State Secretary then went to the harbor where Commissioner Bruce Zagers provided a general explanation of the harbor operations and activities. At the waste management location, the State Secretary was shown the recycling area and the open-air burner waste incinerator.
Commissioner Zagers explained the process of waste management and the recycling process of glass, carton, plastics, cans and steel. The State Secretary complimented the Public Entity Saba and the Commissioner on the vast improvements that have been made in the area of waste management in the past ten years.
The State Secretary visited the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) where SCF Director Kai Wulf gave a presentation about the foundation and the work that it does to manage and protect the on-land Mount Scenery Nature Park and the Saba Marine Park. Wulf also provided some information on SCFs Strategic Plan 2019-2023.
Alwin Hylkema, Dahlia Hassell and Ayumi Izioka Kuramae told the State Secretary and her delegation about some of the projects at SCF, such as the coral reef restoration project and the Yarari Marine Mammals and Sharks Sanctuary.
State Secretary Van Veldhoven said before leaving for St. Eustatius that she was very impressed by what she had seen and heard on Saba. “I compliment Saba on the way you preserve your beautiful island.” She said she was especially happy with the signing of the declaration of intent to tackle single-use plastic products. “Single-use plastics have caused the plastic soup in the oceans. We created this huge problem and together we must address it by eliminating the use of single-use plastics.”
Early Monday morning, the State Secretary and a small delegation, accompanied by guide Jelle van der Velde, went up the Mount Scenery. “It was fantastic to climb up through the cloud forest, to the highest point of the Netherlands. So much beauty, so much greenery. As the Netherlands we have a special task to protect all this natural beauty.”