Award winning Dominican and international singer/songwriter, Michele Henderson, was featured prominently on the launch of the “More than Just Islands” music video featuring performances from a cross-island collaboration of musical artists from the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
The song/video gives support to a Regional Reducing Marine Litter (ReMLit) campaign to remove land-based litter from Caribbean oceans and waterways.
The push to get plastics out of pristine Caribbean Waters is linked to the OECS thrust towards the development called ‘The Blue Economy’. Sustainable economic activity centered around oceans and beaches, fishing, seamoss production and tourism are negatively impacted by marine pollution.
Approximately three million dollars was donated to the OECS by the government and people of Norway which will fund several projects in beneficiary countries.
Norway, a major seafaring nation and a world leader in the promotion of a blue economy, had promised tangible support to the OECS and the wider region when Prime Minister Erna Solberg addressed the CARICOM heads of government meeting in 2019.
The common goal is to implement changes to waste management practices on land that will help prevent waste, particularly plastic litter, from reaching the marine environment.
The “More than Just Islands”, music video is meant to catapult these efforts to the forefront of the minds of the wider public.
Speaking at the music video’s launch, Michele Henderson explained why regional musicians felt it important to come together to encourage the population of the OECS to act decisively to protect their ocean space.
“History has taught us that artists are the shapers of society. It is we who dream, create and influence the changing tides, it is we who man looks to, when his soul needs lifting and his mind needs easing. Our sway is not easily minimized and so, we in the region, those of us who bear the responsibility of stirring the society in the right direction are again called upon this time to highlight the plight of our ocean,” she stated.
Henderson said that the Eastern Caribbean is blessed with bountiful waters that have sustained persons for generations, however, the scourge of marine pollution threatens to unbalance the delicate equilibrium so long maintained by our forefathers.
The ReMLit project will take the form of interventions such as a biogas plant in Antigua and Barbuda. In Dominica, a waste diversion project to separate recyclable and compostable material will be implemented in the Kalinago Territory and a litter reduction project will come on stream in the capital of Roseau.
The Montserrat project is focused on preventing land-based pollution from impacting the marine environment of Carr’s bay. Saint Lucia will seek to improve waste collection in densely populated unplanned urban developments that aren’t accessible to traditional refuse collection vehicles.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines will increase local plastic recycling capacity through public-private partnerships.
Modern Caribbean society has led to the proliferation of plastics as well as other chemical and industrial refuse that waste management processes have not evolved fast enough to keep up with. The result is both urban and rural water ways choked with plastics and other runoff, which inevitably ends up in the ocean, ruining the aesthetics and the health of beaches on shore and killing marine life.