The 37th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta confirms their participation in the Clean Regatta program from conservation organization Sailors for the Sea. The event has been a Clean Regatta member for many years and strives to minimize the impact the event has on the environment. The island of St. Maarten and its surrounding waters will benefit from several new measures put into place by the organizing authority. In addition to individual efforts by the regatta, they are also collaborating with local environmental organizations to maximize the efforts.
“The most significant step to helping keep both St. Maarten and the environment clean is the ban on all Styrofoam use for all official venue vendors during the regatta. This simple step will significantly reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste that will end up in the local landfill. We will continue to ban straws at the venues, something which we have been doing for a number of years now. The party locations will also have bins to collect recycling and party goers who turn in a filled garbage bag will be rewarded with a free Heineken for their efforts. Recycling bins will also be placed at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club and at the Police dock in Simpson Bay. In order to keep the area clean, the bins will be picked up twice a day.” stated Nila Hoogenboezem, Regatta Coordinator for International Liquors & Tobacco.
Regatta Director Michelle van der Werff also spoke about the efforts being made by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club to help reduce the events environmental footprint. “In addition to steps that we have been making for years, such as paperless registration and the impressive beach clean-up we organized a few weeks ago, we are now working with the non-profit organization EPIC, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean, to offer a septic pump out service for competitors. This service will be available for a reduced price and competitors can schedule an appointment for a pump out at a time convenient for the competitor. We hope that through this initiative we can reduce the number of boats that pumps out into the ocean, and more specifically those who pump out near our shores. EPIC will also coordinate a ‘Green Team’ comprised of local students who will be present at the events.” stated Van der Werff.
The event’s well known Sol water taxi service will also be up and running during the racing days, allowing the sailors to ’carpool’ on the water. The general public is encouraged to join together and carpool to and from the party venues so that traffic congestion is reduced while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of the party goers. “Together we can all make a huge difference to the island’s environment, and as an organization, we take this very seriously and hope to be able to inspire the public to recycle right alongside us during the regatta. Obtaining a Clean Regatta certification is important to the event, and by implementing small changes we hope to also make an impact on the island, the youth and the visitors attending the event. Together we can help keep St. Maarten clean.” Said Van der Werff.