#Providenciales, November 2, 2018 – Turks and Caicos – Several hotel and restaurant members of the Turks & Caicos Hotel & Tourism Association [TCHTA] are banning plastic straws and replacing them with paper straws in an effort to reduce the use of single-use plastics and lessen their negative impacts on the environment.
Hotels such as The Grace Bay Resort, The TCI Collection, The Hartling Group and now Beaches TCI have all ditched the plastics and moved toward an eco-friendly paper straw to eliminate the consumption of plastic while addressing waste management and marine pollution across the islands.
“This is a big environmental win for destination TCI, we have all seen the negative impact of plastic, specifically the plastic straws,” said Stacy Cox of the TCHTA, “Our marine environment is an integral part of our brand, our island lifestyle, and we must make a commitment to say NO to plastic straws.”
“Plastic straws can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, and with the high number of guests we have visiting our shores, a large accumulation of plastic waste can create additional problems for the world-famous Grace Bay Beach and the oceans by extension,” Cox said.
This initiative is part of a larger effort to reduce plastic waste in the Turks and Caicos which welcomes over a million guests annually; many of whom are appreciative of the eco-friendly tourist destination. It is the goal of the TCHTA and its members to get the guests involved while making a meaningful environmental impact.
“I am so proud of our members’ response to this environmental hazard. Their swift actions to phase out their use of plastic straws and to provide their guests and customers with environmentally friendly, biodegradable paper straws shows not only an appreciation for sustainable tourism, but the ecological well-being of these islands,” Cox said.
Earlier this year the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources [DECR] launched a ‘We say NO to straws’ campaign which saw a total of 17 hotels and restaurants pledge to not use plastic straws in their drinks during the months of April and May. This campaign was designed to bring awareness by educating the residents and to build momentum around a worldwide movement on the long-term effect of plastic, particularly straws.
According to Amy Avenant, Program Director for the DECR, by midcentury the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh the amount of fish. “It is estimated that 8 Million Metric Tons of plastic winds up in our oceans each year. The ‘no straw’ commitment is a small step towards a bigger and healthier future for us and the natural environment we depend upon.”
“The DECR is very encouraged by the tourism industry’s willingness to make a difference and lead by example, by banning straws from their establishments, in the TCI!” she said.
Association Members are committed to enhancing sustainable tourism and the environment of the Turks & Caicos and will take significant and preventative measures to reduce the usage of plastics and preserve the beautiful waters and marine creatures of the islands that bring meaning to the country’s slogan, “Beautiful by Nature”.
Press Release: TCHTA