ARUBA Without Plastic Bags since January 2017

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Photo taken at Casa Del Mar Resort, Eagle Beach, Aruba.

ARUBA. It’s been nearly a year since January 1, 2017 where all retailers and vendors in Aruba were no longer allowed to distribute nor sell carry-out plastic bags at supermarkets and retail shops.

This then allows tourists and locals alike to bring or buy a re-usable bag or use a carton box to put their groceries in.

Government or city inspectors can fine retailers 10.000 Aruban Guilders (which is about $5715) if they don’t abide by the law to ban plastic bags. This law was created and accepted on 30 June 2016. However, the government gave the community until the new year to adjust to the new rules.

So far this ban and its strategy have been important in a mind- and behavioral change toward increased corporate responsibility from retailers as well as locals and tourists.

You may ask how much of a difference does a plastic bag ban can make to the environment?

It’s estimated one can save 500 to 700 plastic bags from the ocean and landfills each year by bringing your own plastic bags when shopping, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. If you consider these facts: Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest and 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year, we’d all better start refusing single-use plastic.

According to Juliet D. Carvalhal, special coordinator of the Aruban government’s Green Agenda project, “managing waste on islands, especially those heavily dependent on tourism, has been an ongoing challenge. But then again, being an island in itself also presents the community with added motivation to apply concepts of “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Respect” seeing there is limited or practically non-existent access to “Recycling” facilities.”

Reducing not only your use of plastic bags, but managing your trash can also have a big impact if it is carried out daily. Take for example founder of Trash is for Tossers website, Lauren Singer of Brooklyn, New York. Lauren has proved that she could live in one of the biggest cities in the world for 4 years without producing more than one mason jar of waste.

She suggests composting and separating trash effectively, investing in a re-usable water bottle and mason jars and making sure you pack enough bags when you go out shopping to reduce your day-to-day waste. Every little bit helps, especially if everyone does their part.

In the words of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, “let’s make plastic bags go extinct!”

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Post-Hurricane Aid: Solar Filter Can Turn Sea Water into Potable Water

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By Lizpiano

So much sea water but nothing to drink?

As part of our Post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria CoolestCarib.com series, Sustainable Solutions, we introduce a solar still with an open source design (see below article links about the design.)

It is called Eliodomestico and it is a solar-powered water filter, can be made from simple and easily accessible materials, and can purify 5 liters of (sea) water per day (according to India Times.)

Pic from gabrielediamanti.com

Created by Italian designer Gabriele Diamanti, this “solar still” delivers clean and pure drinking water by boiling water and separating it from other elements. Eliodomestico is made from materials like terracotta, anodized zinc, and recycled plastic, operates without filters or electricity, and requires minimal maintenance.

The open source design was named as one of 12 finalists in the Prix Émile Hermès 2011 competition.

There are actually a lot of new products like this, specifically geared towards aiding residents of developing – and now disaster-struck – areas with no clean drinking water. Monash University graduate, Jonathan Liow’s, Solarball is a glass ball that purifies water using the sun.

Diamanti’s solar powered water filter works, in short, like this:

  • Water is poured into the terracotta section of the filter in the morning.
  • Steam is formed as the day develops because the still heats up and later begins to boil the water.
  • The steam that was formed into the nozzle at the top condenses against the lid then drips down into the catch basin below.
  • Provided it was a warm enough day outside, voila! – in the evening there will be 5 liters of fresh drinking water available in the catch basin.

The Eliodomestico can work without fuel, electricity, filters, and needs no maintenance.

According to an article by Bridgette Meinhold of Inhabitat.com: “these devices can also be built anywhere from readily available materials – anyone who can throw a pot can handcraft the main elements necessary for the water filter… Eliodomestico could be made for $50 and produce 5 liters… The design is available as an open-source project for anyone who wants to make one and is licensed under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.”

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