Regional / International

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April 2012

Click here to view the Bopec fire report.
Forun Antilles is of the opinion that the report is flawed by both sweeping statements and contradictions in its assessment of EFFECT on the island and it's environment. Having said that we will now forward this report to B.C.E.P.S for a full independent evaluation.

NEW VIDEO: Waste water plant update (Sep 2, 2011)

It was a pleasure showing you the WWTP on Monday and I hope the information provided to you is useful. The budget for the WWTP was EUR 850.000 (including design and supervision). After submission of a action plan (written in 2008 Frank van Slobbe of DROB and Ramon de Leon of Stinapa) by the local government the Ministry of Internal Affairs agreed to finance the plan. The plant was built by the Ministery of Infrastructure & Environment (I&M), whom I represent. It provides the first step of sewage treatment until the larger systrem is completed and will be used after that for vacuum trucks. Paul Spiertz of MIC did the design, supervison and management. The design and contracting was approved by the local government. Frank van Slobbe is my counterpart at DROB and Peter Montanus works on the communication aspects (we made a brochure on waste water that will be spread shortly). The WWTP was constructed by Florida Aquastore and subcontrator MNO Vervat. At the moment the plant is run by MIC and we have trainees from One Man Construction (retained by WEB). We are in the start-up phase. This team will continue to run the plant (until the Wet VROM BES comes into effect (before that date, the local government doesn't have the legal means to impose sewage taxes). I&M therefore pays for this phase and is responsible for the plant until it is submitted to the local government. It is anticipated that the effluent will meet the required standards at the end of September or early Octobre. MIC will conduct test on Nitrogen, BOD, Suspended Solids and Bacteries (Paul will send you a list of parameters). We expect that the effluent can be re-used for sustainable agriculture in Octobre. Jan Jaap van Almenkerk (Wayaka) - who also assited Frank and me at the WWTP - coordinates the sustainable agriculture project at LVV and has been retained to do a pilot with goat farmers at Lac and Washington Slagbaai to prevent over grazing and erosion. Jan Jaap and Maarten Schuit also coordinate other projects for DROB, such as water containment at LVV. We are in the proces of submitting a grant application for the EU to upgrade the pilot next year. Kris Kats helps out with a soil- and watermanagement plan and watermonitoring. World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) thinks that the integral approach that we've chosen is an example for other islands world wide. We know that we still have a long way to go, but this is an important step foward. Please feel free to contact me, if you require more information.

NEW VIDEO: Water movements Bonaire (Sep 2, 2011)

To All concerned. On behalf of myself and Hendrik, I would like to thank you all those involved in this project for your time and energy to explain what is going on. It was refreshing to talk on a down to earth basis. And I am sure my audience will also be grateful. We have endeavored to show the real facts around this situation. The film that was so vehemently objected to by Mr.Kats will remain as the subject matter was not your system but that of the twenty million euro plan and my objections to that plan remain. Had we been given excess to the right information the misunderstanding would never have happened.

Hi Sean,

Thank you. Please note that LVV has arranged the fence to prevent access to the ditches. We are in the process of finding a solution for the construction involved with the placement of the fence.




The full details of the reason why will be given later this week, however Forum Antilles was told by members of the island council that the financial situation to date was not good and that the project was running over budget. It was also stated that the proposed management company "WEB" NV was no longer willing to act in this capacity.

Hendrik Wuyts was turned away on the morning of Friday the 19th August and informed that no film crew or press would be allowed to enter the site. Forum Antilles will be monitoring this situation.

NEW VIDEO: Interim Waste Water Plant, August 19th, 2011

Bonaire now finds itself in the very situation that was predicted by the environmentalists at the planing stage. Forum Antilles & B.I.C.E.P.S. will be pursuing the matter in the coming weeks! Your imput is needed...
Lets get the situation under control NOW. Please click on the image to see the film, or click here for the YouTube link (opens in new window).

Yes the cables killed the flamingo birds, but the results from the waste water by the fish farm cannot be ignored!!
Water samples April 21, Kenneth & Sean, 1-4 Donkey Sanctuary, 5-7 Fish Farm

Sample nr.
Sterile water
Salinity (%)
Ammonia (ppm)
Nitrate (ppm)
Nitrite (ppm)
Phosphate (ppm)
Enterococci cfu per 100 ml

Samples 5, 6, and 7 had high nitrate/nitrite and phosphate and 5 had plenty of Enterococci

NEW VIDEO: Flamingo death: no time to wait! April 23rd, 2011

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NEW VIDEO: Flamingo deaths on Bonaire

April 8th, 2011


Click on the image to play the video, or click here for the YouTube link (opens in new window).


By: Paul Greenberg. Nat Geogr. Published: October 2010


Too many hooks in the water. That’s the problem with today’s fisheries. Working from small pole-and-line boats to giant industrial trawlers, fishermen remove more than 170 billion pounds of wildlife a year from the seas. A new study suggests that our current appetite could soon lead to a worldwide fisheries collapse.

Just before dawn a seafood summit convenes near Honolulu Harbor. As two dozen or so buyers enter the United Fishing Agency warehouse, they don winter parkas over their aloha shirts to blunt the chill of the refrigeration. They flip open their cell phones, dial their clients in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Honolulu—wherever expensive fish are eaten—and wait.

Soon the big freight doors on the seaward side of the warehouse slide open, and a parade of marine carcasses on pallets begins. Tuna as big around as wagon wheels. Spearfish and swordfish, their bills sawed off, their bodies lined up like dull gray I beams. Thick-lipped opah with eyes the size of hockey pucks rimmed with gold. They all take their places in the hall.

Auctioneers drill core samples from the fish and lay the ribbons of flesh on the lifeless white bellies. Buyers finger these samples, trying to divine quality from color, clarity, texture, and fat content. As instructions come in over cell phones, bids are conveyed to the auctioneer through mysterious hand gestures. Little sheets of paper with indecipherable scribbling are slapped on a fish's flank when a sale is finalized. One by one fish are auctioned and sold to the highest bidder. In this way the marine wealth of the north-central Pacific is divided up among some of the world's most affluent purchasers.

Every year more than 170 billion pounds (77.9 million metric tons) of wild fish and shellfish are caught in the oceans—roughly three times the weight of every man, woman, and child in the United States. Fisheries managers call this overwhelming quantity of mass-hunted wildlife the world catch, and many maintain that this harvest has been relatively stable over the past decade. But an ongoing study conducted by Daniel Pauly, a fisheries scientist at the University of British Columbia, in conjunction with Enric Sala, a National Geographic fellow, suggests that the world catch is neither stable nor fairly divided among the nations of the world. In the study, called SeafoodPrint and supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts and National Geographic, the researchers point the way to what they believe must be done to save the seas.
They hope the study will start by correcting a common misperception. The public imagines a nation's impact on the sea in terms of the raw tonnage of fish it catches. But that turns out to give a skewed picture of its real impact, or seafood print, on marine life. "The problem is, every fish is different," says Pauly. "A pound of tuna represents roughly a hundred times the footprint of a pound of sardines."

The reason for this discrepancy is that tuna are apex predators, meaning that they feed at the very top of the food chain. The largest tuna eat enormous amounts of fish, including intermediate-level predators like mackerel, which in turn feed on fish like anchovies, which prey on microscopic copepods. A large tuna must eat the equivalent of its body weight every ten days to stay alive, so a single thousand-pound tuna might need to eat as many as 15,000 smaller fish in a year. Such food chains are present throughout the world's ocean ecosystems, each with its own apex animal. Any large fish—a Pacific swordfish, an Atlantic mako shark, an Alaska king salmon, a Chilean sea bass—is likely to depend on several levels of a food chain.

To gain an accurate picture of how different nations have been using the resources of the sea, the SeafoodPrint researchers needed a way to compare all types of fish caught. They decided to do this by measuring the amount of "primary production"—those microscopic organisms at the bottom of the marine food web—required to make a pound of a given type of fish. They found that a pound of bluefin tuna, for example, might require a thousand pounds or more of primary production.

In assessing the true impact that nations have on the seas, the team needed to look not just at what a given nation caught but also at what the citizens of that nation ate. "A country can ac­quire primary production by fishing, or it can acquire it by trade," Pauly says. "It is the sheer power of wealthy nations to acquire primary production that is important."

Nations with money tend to buy a lot of fish, and a lot of the fish they buy are large apex predators like tuna. Japan catches less than five million metric tons of fish a year, a 29 percent drop from 1996 to 2006. But Japan consumes nine million metric tons a year, about 582 million metric tons in primary-production terms. Though the average Chinese consumer generally eats smaller fish than the average Japanese consumer does, China's massive population gives it the world's biggest seafood print, 694 million metric tons of primary production. The U.S., with both a large population and a tendency to eat apex fish, comes in third: 348.5 million metric tons of primary production. And the size of each of these nations' seafood prints is growing. What the study points to, Pauly argues, is that these quantities are not just extremely large but also fundamentally unsustainable.

Exactly how unsustainable can be seen in global analyses of seafood trade compiled by Wilf Swartz, an economist working on SeafoodPrint. Humanity's consumption of the ocean's primary production changed dramatically from the 1950s to the early 2000s. In the 1950s much less of the ocean was being fished to meet our needs. But as affluent nations increasingly demanded apex predators, they exceeded the primary-production capacities of their exclusive economic zones, which extend up to 200 nautical miles from their coasts. As a result, more and more of the world's oceans had to be fished to keep supplies constant or growing.

Areas outside of these zones are known in nautical parlance as the high seas. These vast territories, the last global commons on Earth, are technically owned by nobody and everybody. The catch from high-seas areas has risen to nearly ten times what it was in 1950, from 1.6 million metric tons to around 13 million metric tons. A large part of that catch is high-level ,high-value tuna, with its huge seafood print.

The wealthier nations that purchase most of the products of these fisheries are essentially privatizing them. Poorer countries simply cannot afford to bid for high-value species. Citizens in these nations can also lose out if their governments enter into fishing or trade agreements with wealthier nations. In these agreements local fish are sold abroad and denied to local citizens—those who arguably have the greatest need to eat them and the greatest right to claim them.

Although supermarkets in developed nations like the U.S. and Japan still abound with fish flesh, SeafoodPrint suggests that this abundance is largely illusory because it depends on these two troubling phenomena: broader and broader swaths of the high seas transformed from fallow commons into heavily exploited, monopolized fishing grounds; and poor nations' seafood wealth spirited away by the highest bidder.

Humanity's demand for seafood has now driven fishing fleets into every virgin fishing ground in the world. There are no new grounds left to exploit. But even this isn't enough. An unprecedented buildup of fishing capacity threatens to outstrip seafood supplies in all fishing grounds, old and new. A report by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recently concluded that the ocean doesn't have nearly enough fish left to support the current onslaught. Indeed, the report suggests that even if we had half as many boats, hooks, and nets as we do now, we would still end up catching too many fish.

Some scientists, looking at the same data, see a different picture than Daniel Pauly does. Ray Hilborn, a fisheries scientist at the University of Washington, doesn't think the situation is so dire. "Daniel is fond of showing a graph that suggests that 60 to 70 percent of the world's fish stocks are overexploited or collapsed," he says. "The FAO's analysis and independent work I have done suggests that the number is more like 30 percent." Increased pressure on seafood shouldn't come as a surprise, he adds, since the goal of the global fishing industry is to fully exploit fish populations, though without damaging their long-term viability.

Many nations, meanwhile, are trying to compensate for the world's growing seafood deficit by farming or ranching high-level predators such as salmon and tuna, which helps maintain the illusion of abundance in the marketplace. But there's a big problem with that approach: Nearly all farmed fish consume meal and oil derived from smaller fish. This is another way that SeafoodPrint might prove useful. If researchers can tabulate the ecological value of wild fish consumed on fish farms, they could eventually show the true impact of aquaculture.

Given such tools, policymakers might be in a better position to establish who is taking what from the sea and whether that is just and sustainable. As a global study, SeafoodPrint makes clear that rich nations have grossly underestimated their impacts. If that doesn't change, the abundance of fish in our markets could drop off quickly. Most likely the wealthy could still enjoy salmon and tuna and swordfish. But middle-class fish-eaters might find their seafood options considerably diminished, if not eliminated altogether.

What then is SeafoodPrint's long-range potential? Could some version of it guide a conservation agreement in which nations are given a global allowance of oceanic primary production and fined or forced to mend their ways if they exceed it?
"That would be nice, wouldn't it?" Pauly says. He points out that we already know several ways to shrink our impact on the seas: reduce the world's fishing fleets by 50 percent, establish large no-catch zones, limit the use of wild fish as feed in fish-farming. Unfortunately, the seafood industry has often blocked the road to reform.
SeafoodPrint could also give consumers a map around that roadblock—a way to plot the course toward healthy, abundant oceans. Today there are dozens of sustainable-seafood campaigns, each of which offers suggestions for eating lower on the marine food chain. These include buying farmed tilapia instead of farmed salmon, because tilapia are largely herbivorous and eat less fish meal when farmed; choosing trap-caught black cod over long-lined Chilean sea bass, because fewer unwanted fish are killed in the process of the harvest; and avoiding eating giant predators like Atlantic bluefin tuna altogether, because their numbers are simply too low to allow any harvest at all.

The problem, say conservationists, is that the oceans have reached a critical point. Simply changing our diets is no longer sufficient if fish are to recover and multiply in the years ahead. What Pauly and other conservation biologists now believe is that suggestions must be transformed into obligations. If treaties can establish seafood-consumption targets for every nation, they argue, citizens could hold their governments responsible for meeting those targets. Comparable strategies have worked to great effect in terrestrial ecosystems, for trade items such as furs or ivory. The ocean deserves a similar effort, they say.

"Barely one percent of the ocean is now protected, compared with 12 percent of the land," Enric Sala adds, "and only a fraction of that is fully protected." That's why National Geographic is partnering with governments, businesses, conservation organizations, and citizens to promote marine reserves and help reduce the impact of fishing around the globe.

In the end, neither Pauly nor Sala nor the rest of the SeafoodPrint team wants to destroy the fishing industry, eliminate aquaculture, or ban fish eating. What they do want to change is business as usual. They want to let people know that today's fishing and fish-farming practices are not sustainable and that the people who advocate maintaining the status quo are failing to consider the ecological and economic ramifications. By accurately measuring the impacts nations have on the sea, Seafood Print may lay the groundwork for effective change, making possible the rebuilding of the ocean's dwindling wealth. Such a course, Pauly believes, could give the nations of the world the capability, in the not too distant future, to equitably share a truly bountiful, resurrected ocean, rather than greedily fight over the scraps that remain in the wake of a collapse.

Why??? How much we love the island...

(click on the image to view enlarged photo and more)

Sept 9 2010 (Reuters) - A fire in naphtha tank at a 12-million barrel oil storage terminal owned by Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA on the Caribbean island of Bonaire raged out of control on Thursday, halting shipping until at least the weekend.

Here are some facts about the terminal:
 -- The terminal is controlled by the Bonaire Petroleum Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of PDVSA.
 -- The 12 million barrel facility stores heavy crude, gasoline, naphtha, distillates and residual fuel oils in 23 tanks.
 -- Two tankers were unloading Venezuelan oil at the terminal, known as BOPEC, when the accident happened. Two other boats were moored offshore. All four were removed to deeper water.
 -- BOPEC receives 20-25 tankers per month, including three Very Large Crude Carriers.
 -- Much of the oil stored in Bonaire is later shipped to China. Venezuela is the Asian country's top supplier of fuel oil and a growing supplier of crude.
 -- The naphtha that caught fire on Wednesday was stored to be used in two Venezuela refineries, El Palito and Puerto La Cruz.
 -- The Windjammer, a 239 foot shipwreck lies just offshore from the terminal and is popular with divers.

Situation coral reef alarming
19 Aug, 2010, 08:10 (GMT -04:00)

KRALENDIJK — The largest threats for the quality of the seawater around Bonaire regard the construction activities along the coast, sewage water from septic tanks (along with too many nutrients and bacteria), and the soil ending up in sea through erosion.

The aforementioned appears from the annual report on 2009 from the Committee for Nature Policy. The Committee advised the Board of Governors 57 times in 2009. The advice was positive in 50 cases, and the other times were negative. The Board of Governors acted upon the committee’s advice except for three cases of which the status is not clear yet. In the annual report, the committee also made an evaluation of the policy developments.
The committee expresses its concern in the annual report on the increase of fishing around the reeves. From research into the quantity of fish in the neighborhood of the coral reef, it appears this has decreased drastically. There is less adult fish swimming around the reef and fewer adult lobsters.
The first lionfish was seen in the waters of Bonaire in 2009. This poisonous fish forms a threat for the quantity of fish because the glutton eats its congeners and does not have any natural enemies. In the meantime, Stinapa caught more than 150 lionfish.
During the past ten years, the American scientist Robert Steneck – together with the Bonaire National Marine Park – conducted various researches into the health of the coral reef. The annual report states that the latter has deteriorated considerably. The reef has increasingly more micro-alga and there is increasingly less young coral. The number of prowl fish has decreased, which is a bad sign for the condition of the ocean around Bonaire.
Scientists advised to purify the water from septic tanks as soon as possible because the wastewater along with the nutrients and other environmental damaging substances increased the growth of seaweed in the seawater.


In the annual report, the committee also included the advice to legislate the moratorium on diving companies. Although the moratorium is effective since the beginning of the nineties, it was not regulated legally. On the advice of the committee, the government withdrew permits from diving schools that are no longer active.

The Committee for Nature Policy was set up as a result of the Nature Policy Bonaire regulation from October 2008. The committee’s task is to advise the Board of Governors on the protection and conservation of the nature on the island.

NEW VIDEO: Reflection of "Tropisch Koninkrijk" (Tropical Kingdom)


Click on the image to play the video, or click here for the YouTube link (opens in new window).

Project for coral restoration
15 Jun, 2010, 08:05 (GMT -04:00)

KRALENDIJK — Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire (CRFB) has presented Deputies Jopie Abraham and Nolly Oleana a plan for cultivating coral. CRFB-chairman Martien van der Valk, Paul Coolen and biologist Augusto Montbrun Segnini have expounded their ideas on a project for coral restoration and CRFB will carry out the project together with amongst others Stinapa.
Based on a study conducted by coral experts in Florida, it appears coral cultivation is rather simple. Where coral has died off, for example after a hurricane, newly cultivated coral can be replaced in the sea. Four areas around Bonaire will be allocated as ‘cultivation pond’. Study will have to reveal which areas could serve best. Furthermore, the coral will be cultivated on protected platforms and placed in other areas afterwards so that the amount of coral around Bonaire will remain at the same level. In order to prevent bureaucratic situations, Deputy Abraham will appoint someone as contact person between CRFB and the government.

Aliansa Naturalesa Bonaire: press release about the Salina di Vlijt situation

NEW VIDEO: Bonaire killed its biodiversity

Click on the image to play the video, or click here for the YouTube link (opens in new window).

View ALL the videos from Sean on the Forum Antilles You Tube channel!

Click here to view the preliminary test results from the samples taken (see video Bonaire Shock below)

NEW VIDEO: Bonaire Shock

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NEW VIDEO: Freewinds attacks Bonaire again (July 2008)

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NEW REPORT: "Tsunamis, hurricanes, the demise of coral reefs and shifts in pre-historic human populations in the Caribbean" by Sander Scheffers, Jay Haviser, Tony Browne, Anja Scheffers

NEW VIDEO: BES Bonaire Waste Management (December 2008)

Click on the image to play the video, or click here for the YouTube link (opens in new window).

NEW VIDEO: Bonaire Eco Rape (August 2008)

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NEW VIDEO: Coral massacre

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NEW VIDEO: Destruction for construction

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June 7., 2008: Scientology luxury cruise ship remains locked down; Cult put thousands at high cancer risk

Six weeks after public health authorities on the Caribbean island of Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles) impounded the Scientology cult's 440-foot luxury liner "Freewinds," the ship remains locked down. Experts advise that decontaminating the ship would cost millions of dollars and may not even be possible. Meanwhile, the cult continues to solicit funds for cruises that will not happen.

After the ship was quarantined on April 26, the Curaçao Drydock Company was contracted to carry out refurbishment and repairs. The contamination was so extensive that the company decided that the risk to its workers was too great, and ceased operations. At that point Scientology sent a team of its "Sea Org" internal paramilitary force to clean the ship themselves. They are bringing the blue asbestos by the truckload to dump at the island's Selikor landfill site at Malpais.

Incredibly, top leaders of the Scientology cult were informed of the pervasive contamination back in 1987, but chose to do nothing. Until the 1960s, when the Freewinds was built, blue asbestos was often used in shipbuilding (it was not known at the time to be so carcinogenic). Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft, a licensed architect by profession, supervised interior remodeling work on the ship in 1987 when the cult first purchased it. According to a legal affidavit made after Woodcraft left the cult in 2001, Woodcraft had notified Scientology officials immediately about the widespread blue asbestos and the dangers it posed. The response he received was that he should carry on with the work, and leave the asbestos where it was. Since Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard had never mentioned that asbestos was dangerous, they were not going to worry about it. Scientologists believe that disease is caused not by microbes or toxic substances, but by the presence of "suppressive persons" (SPs), or people who disagree with Scientology and its goals. Moreover, Scientologists believe that high-level Sea Org members cannot get cancer or any other disease.

Meanwhile, Scientology continues to promote cruises on the Freewinds, receiving large cash advances from Scientologist prospective passengers, who have been informed only that the ship is going through an ordinary refurbishment. Already, the cult has missed several planned sailing dates, but it continues to seek funds for voyages in the near future. According to Radar Online, the cult has scheduled conventions starting in July and running through November.

On May 1, the cult's spokesperson lied to Radar Online with the following "spin":

"The next cruise is scheduled for Thursday, May 8. Inspections done on April 15, 2008 and April 28, 2008 again confirmed that the air quality is safe, in accordance with the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Clean Air Act." None of this, of course, was true.

The cult's promotional materials give further information about Scientology's advance-booking scheme:

"The new conventions calendar aboard the brand new Freewinds is out and we are looking forward to seeing you aboard! Look over the different conventions and let me know which convention(s) you plan to attend."

Yet all the extremely hazardous "cleaning" of the blue asbestos may be in vain. According to officials in the Netherlands' Ministry of Environment, which dealt with an asbestos-laden ship in 2006 that was eventually demolished, the cost to make Freewinds safe for passengers, if it is even possible, may run into many millions of Euros/dollars, probably more than the ship itself is worth.

The ship is used by Scientology for advanced training in "Operating Thetan" levels, for members who have paid fees of between USD$100,000 and $400,000, as well as for tax-deductible Caribbean cruises for its members and their families. Curaçao has been the ship's homeport since it was purchased by Scientology, as it is not permitted to dock in any US port.

Many Scientologist celebrities have spent time aboard the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Suri Cruise, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley, Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, and Juliette Lewis. "Now" magazine reported that Tom Cruise has been urged to seek medical attention regarding potential asbestos exposure, however a representative for Cruise stated he has "absolutely no knowledge" of the recent asbestos controversy. Cruise, Holmes, Travolta and Preston have celebrated birthdays and other events on the Freewinds. Scientology has official "religion" status in the USA, which means that it is exempt from paying taxes, and that its members can declare any Scientology-related expense as tax-deductible.

Raw blue asbestos is the most hazardous form of asbestos, and has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1970. Blue asbestos fibers are very narrow and thus easily inhaled, and are a major cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the pericardium sac surrounding the heart. The cancer is incurable, and can manifest over 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

"This is the most dangerous type of asbestos because the fibres are smaller than the white asbestos and can penetrate the lung more easily," said toxicologist Dr. Chris Coggins in a statement published in "OK! Magazine." Dr. Coggins went on to note that "Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the victim has six months to a year to live. It gradually reduces lung function until the victim is no longer able to breathe and dies."

The Scientology cult was founded in 1950 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Its primary goal is to "clear the planet" by "obliterating psychiatry." Scientology's many front groups include the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), Criminon, Narconon, and Applied Scholastics. Scientology claims to be the "world's fastest growing religion," with some 8 million members, but mainstream demographic surveys have shown that the number of members is closer to 55,000 worldwide, and declining. Scientology is currently under investigation in several countries for a variety of human rights abuses, including child abuse, violation of child labor laws, kidnapping and running secret internal prison camps, as well as for a number of financial crimes.

NEW VIDEO: Sea Monitor Foundation Bonaire

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May 1., 2008: Scientology Asbestos Ship Quarantined, Thousands May Have Suffered Exposure
Source: News Blaze

MV Freewinds is a cruise ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology under the name 'Majestic Cruise Lines'. Thousands of people have been aboard the MV Freewinds after paying to attend Scientology courses, training services and functions.

As of April 28, 2008, the MV Freewinds has been sealed and quarantined at the Mathey warf in Otrobanda, Cura�ao, Netherlands Antilles, following the discovery of significant amounts of blue asbestos in the ship's structure. A statement from the ship's captain has revealed previous incidents where blue asbestos was released into the ship's ventilation system. The Cura�ao Drydock Company (CDM) was contracted to conduct refurbishment and repairs on the MV Freewinds, but has ceased work due to the risk of exposure to the asbestos.

CDM interim director Frank Esser and deputy head of the Department of Labour Affairs Christiene van der Biezen were accompanied by two inspectors and the head of the local Health Department, Tico Ras. Samples taken from the paneling last week by inspectors showed that they contained significant amounts of blue asbestos. After an extraordinary meeting, the Executive Council decided to inform the public in general about the incident to avoid rumors and panic.

Anyone who has been aboard MV Freewinds may wish to see their doctor to assess their level of exposure, and commence appropriate health monitoring and management.

Seven years ago, allegations were made that Scientologists aboard the Freewinds were being put at risk of asbestos exposure. An affidavit filed in 2001 by Lawrence Woodcraft, a former Scientologist and trained architect, claims that Woodcraft encountered the blue asbestos while working on the ship in 1987, and promptly informed Scientology leaders. It appears that for over 21 years, the Church of Scientology has knowingly exposed passengers to what is generally considered the most lethal form of asbestos.

NEW VIDEO: The value of coral

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Newpublication: The status of the coral reefs of Bonaire - by Robert Steneck etc. (opens in new window).

MilieuEffectRapportage wind/diesel energiecentrale / Environmental Impact Study done for the new WEB wind/diesel powerplant (click here for more information in English!)

In het kader van de m.e.r procedure/ Wind-diesel energie centrale van Ecopower Bonaire N.V., maakt het Bestuurscollege van het Eilandgebied Bonaire hierbij, de ter inzage van het concept MER (Milieu-effectrapport) rapport bekend. Het concept MER rapport doorloopt een procedure in overeenstemming met het Eilandbesluit van 21 mei (archiefnr. 27007849). Op grond daarvan wordt u tijdens deze periode in gelegenheid gesteld uw zienswijze op dit rapport naar voren te brengen. Het rapport ligt vanaf de dag na deze bekendmaking, gedurende vier weken ter visie bij de DROB, afdeling Milieu en Natuurbeheer, Kaya Amsterdam 23. De hoorzitting met betrekking tot onderhavige MER is gepland op 21 februari 2008, tussen 18:00 - 20:00 uur, in het Jeugd Huis Jong Bonaire.

Jullie aanwezigheid is zeer gewaardeerd!

Bijgevoegd de yousendit link voor het downloaden van het MER voor Ecopower Bonaire.

Let op: deze link blijft slechts 7 dagen actief, dus gaarne downloaden voor 26 februari! (CHANGED). Als de link NIET meer actief is, kunt u hier klikken om de MER te downloaden.

Deze versie is gelijk aan de versie die in december naar de MER commissie is opgestuurd, met uitzondering van de vertalingen van de samenvatting (met als gevolg dat paginanummers waarschijnlijk ook wat veranderd zijn).

28-02-2008: New law protects nature on land and in the ocean
Drob - Eilandsverordening natuurbeheer - Dutch / Ordenansa insular protekshon naturalesa - Papiamentu

26-02-2008: Two fish protected areas in the Bonaire National Marine Park
Drob - visreservaten ingesteld - Dutch / Areanan di reserva pa piská legalmente stipulá 26-2-08 - Papiamentu

'Extra' Article about cesspool water pits (click to view the article in Papiamentu; opens in new window)

Bonaire Reporter Article (12th-26th October 2007)

The situation at Bonaire's garbage landfill and the dumping of cesspool water at LVV (Agricultural Extension Service) has gotten the attention of Bonaire's government.

“The entire world can see on the Internet what is being done with garbage and waste water in Bonaire. We need to find a solution soon,” says new Selibon Director, Jonchi Dortalina. “We have to make sure that Bonaire maintains its reputation as the cleanest island in the Caribbean. We are going to take care of that.” Five months ago The Bonaire Reporter was the first to post the address of the YouTube video clip made by MegaFM newscaster Sean Peton and ScubaVision's Hendrik Wuyts which has been viewed by thousands. While much of the liquid waste comes from the visiting cruise ship, Freewinds, local septic tank and cesspit water is dumped there too. “The government’s policy for picking up household and commercial waste is part of the Environmental Policy Plan 2003-2007,” indicated Environmental Commissioner Anthony Nicolaas, chairman of the board of Selibon. “This plan will be adjusted and actualized. The policy focuses mainly on prevention, recycling and the responsible disposing of what is no longer usable. This way, a waste dump can be used for a much longer time.” The policy plan has three ways to make this happen: laws and supervision, treatment installations, and provision of information. Nicolaas says that the Environmental Police have been acting more severely against violators of the Island Ordinance on Waste. The activities of the anti-pollution squad will be further increased. A process was started to recycle glass. A scale will be placed at the dump. There will be information campaigns to emphasize the policy. There is a cooperation agreement with the Dutch municipality of Breda to separate hazardous waste from other waste. The Environment Department of DROB and Selibon will do the project. “Selibon made a profit of NAƒ 575.000 in the first seven months of 2007, while the projection was only NAƒ 200.000," said Dortalina. G.D. and BVO

Bonaire makes progress on waste management »

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Bonaire Waste Water Part 2 »

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Click here to view the Bonaire Reporter article: "Bonaire's Salt"

Click here to view the Bonaire Reporter articles: "Bonaire reefs at point of no return", "Biologist Brian LaPointe holds the smoking gun - Proof of pollution on the reef" and "What's next for Bonaire's reefs" part 3 and 4 (opens in new window).

Bonaire Sea Defense »

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Destruction for Construction

Pebbles, stones and sand, these are among the most sought after commodities in the building trade on Bonaire.

We are all familiar with the old saying "you can't make an omelet without breaking an egg", wise words indeed.

However if we kill the chicken in the process, our ability to make omelets will soon come to an end.

The same can be said for our future here on Bonaire. The illegal quarrying that seems to be all over the Island has left a nasty scar on the face of Bonaire. This not only looks bad but has other effects, changing the landscape also changes the water drainage through the Islands under ground water table.

To really get the picture, you have to see Bonaire as a living thing, breathing and supporting thousands and thousands of other life forms. Our coral is a living thing; it in turn supports lots of other living things from microorganisms, to fish. The fish in turn also support us!!

For thousands of years Bonaire has managed to keep itself on a good eco balance. Its reef unspoiled, its people living in balance with what the Island could give them and what the people could give the Island. A nice balance.

We cannot say that we are unaware of this impact; in fact as you drive around the Island you will see that people have been using this principle to help them catch water for some time. Where ever you see the blades of the water pumps that sit on top of the water wells you will see that the topsoil beside them is dragged out in order to create large lakes when the rain comes. The idea is that after the rain the water will drain down in to the area of the well thus giving us a larger supply of water. This principle does not always work, as it is often the case that the well is drawing water from an underground cave and the water that it is being pumped will come from miles away. We understand so little of subterranean Bonaire that it is hard to estimate the damage that we are doing and sad to say we may not see the impact until it is too late. We can take one thing as fact. Water finds its own level and a greater proportion of the water that falls on the Island will find its way to the coastline.

What is needed is an impact study so that we can understand what is taking place. S.T.I.N.A.P.A have been doing studies on the coral reef both for nutrient levels and other pollution factors. From the Reporter we have had extensive coverage. Not least of these was the "Smoking Gun" report.

In my opinion, the situation must be dealt with now! Implementing an immediate moratorium on quarrying. Making public, the areas that are licensed quarries. People dealing in illegal aggregate should be bought to book.

An immediate water sampling should be initiated in order to obtain the data that will tell us how our underground water table is moving, and how it is connected to the run of points around the coast Only then can we be sure of what action to take.

Using the Islands topsoil to fill the foundations of new houses can be avoided. The Island does not have a lot of this topsoil. What it does have should be kept for future use in agriculture. When used in the right way it can be highly fertile.

This soil also contains seeds, seeds that do not always need sunlight to grow, with the right moisture they can shoot. This means that maybe five years after you have built your house the floor will start to break up with some nice weeds behind it, just waiting to tell you how much they like Bonaire too.

Otto Bartels has worked very hard, with Salibon and other groups to get to the point where we can now recycle glass. This end product "crushed glass" can be used as an aggregate for the construction industry. For house foundations and road making -as a rough aggregate.

It is my suggestion, that each and every one of us should lobby the Executive council members of Bonaire. Our objective! To get a transparent plan for future development of the Island. That will show all the Islands people what will happen to the Island over the next five years.

This plan should be available to the people by viewing it at the Government building. It should show what measures are going to be undertaken to preserve the environment, how we are going to deal with waste water, how we are going to clean up the land fill, and turn it into a "Waste Management depot" and how we are going to keep Bonaire, Bonaire!!

It is time to stand up and go to the plate. The people of Bonaire, for Bonaire we can make the difference if we act now.


The department head of DROP (Public Works) has announced that a new sewage treatment plant will be built in Bonaire.The two stage plant will also deal with "tertiary treatment" and will be put in place by a German Company, "Dorsch consult" will start work on the project 25th July 2007.

Forum Antilles will be following this situation, however I have to say it does sound very positive. Let the work begin. This is a great step for the Island of Bonaire. Though I am sure it will not all be smooth running, and I want to know many things about the project before I am happy with it being the right solution for us. At this stage I must say, it is most definitely the first step of a long journey, the first step in the right direction. Well done to all those who helped to bring this about.

Sean Paton

Bonaire zoekt oplossing voor afvalwater
Bron: 3 Okt, 2007

KRALENDIJK — Selibon en de milieuafdeling van Drob (Dienst Ruimtelijk Ontwikkeling en Beheer) zoeken naarstig een oplossing voor het lozen van afvalwater op het terrein van LVV in Amboina. De eerste gedachte is via een septic tank het water te lozen in bakken op het Selibon-terrein in Lagun. Via een vier- of vijftrapssysteem loopt het water over en kan dan gebruikt worden voor irrigatie. De lozing op het LVV-terrein gebeurt al sinds midden jaren negentig nadat het toenmalige Bestuurscollege daarmee instemde.

door Bubui Cecilia

De twee bedrijven die afvalwater ophalen en lozen zijn Selibon en Damascus Construction. Die doen dat al jaren. Naast beerputwater wordt ook afvalwater van cruiseschepen als de Freewinds en van vliegtuigen (KLM) door Damascus Construction op die plaats geloosd. Het water dat van de vliegtuigen afkomstig is kleurt roze of blauw en het stinkt penetrant.

Voorheen werd het afvalwater geloosd in zee aan de noordkust in de buurt van Onima. Daarna werd besloten het water naar de vuilstortplaats in Lagun te brengen. Wegens protesten van bewoners van Lagun ging men weer richting Onima. Toen kwam er protest van de bevolking van Rincon. Hierdoor werd door het BC het besluit genomen om het water in kanalen te lozen in Amboina.

Het probleem dat zich nu voordoet en maanden geleden op Youtube werd gepubliceerd door Sean Patton, is dat het water blijft staan. Het vuile water verdampt nauwelijks en de grond is dichtgeslibd.

Een ander probleem is dat de lozingen van afvalwater op elk uur van de dag plaatsvinden, zonder enige vorm van controle. “Niemand kan vertellen of het water in het afgesproken kanaal geloosd wordt, omdat er niemand bij is”, aldus een ambtenaar van Landbouw Veeteelt Visserij (LVV). “Dat lozen gebeurt ook in de avonduren als niemand meer op het terrein aanwezig is. Noch LVV noch de milieuafdeling heeft een overzicht van wat daar gebeurt.”

Clarenda is al een maand bezig met een onderzoek en voert gesprekken met verschillende betrokken diensthoofden. Rapportering ontbreekt vooralsnog. Vooral bezorgd is de gedeputeerde naar eigen zeggen over wat voor stoffen er in het afvalwater van de KLM zitten.

Deze week nog zit vuilophaalbedrijf Selibon met de milieuafdeling van Drob om de tafel om met een voorstel te komen voor de overheid om op korte termijn tot een oplossing te komen.

Bij de oplossing met de septic tank in Lagun is het bedoeling om van de vaste stoffen compost te maken om grond vruchtbaar te maken. Dit proces is milieuvriendelijk. Vooralsnog is niet duidelijk wie dit systeem moet gaan financieren. Selibon toont zich bereid te zorgen voor de uitvoering van dit plan, maar verlangt van de overheid als verantwoordelijke instantie financiële steun.

Overigens spreekt men opnieuw van een tijdelijke oplossing, net als de invoering van het huidig systeem twaalf jaar geleden een tijdelijke oplossing was.

Het waterzuiveringsproject dat de Europese Commissie gaat financieren voor Bonaire moet de definitieve oplossing zijn voor dit probleem. Het project is vorige week door premier Emily de Jongh-Elhage (PAR) aangeboden aan de EU-vertegenwoordiger tijdens zijn bezoek aan de Antillen.

Dortalina belooft aanpak lozingen
Bron: 2 Okt, 2007

KRALENDIJK — Er moet een beslisssing komen over de vuilstortplaats van Selibon en de lozingen van beerputwater op het terrein van LVV. “De hele wereld kan op internet zien wat er op Bonaire gebeurt met het vuil en het afvalwater. We moeten snel handelen en een oplossing zoeken. We moeten zorgen dat Bonaire de naam behoudt van het schoonste eiland van het Caribisch gebied. Daar gaan wij voor zorgen, zegt Selibon-directeur Yonchi Dortalina.

De directeur van het vuilophaalbedrijf doelt op presentator Sean Paton van radiostation MegaFM die een filmpje maakte en op youtube ( plaatste over illegale lozingen door het cruiseschip Freewinds. Overigens blijkt niet het cruiseschip hiervoor vernatwoordelijk, maar het bedrijf dat het beerputafval op commerciële basis inzamelt.

“Het beleid van de overheid voor het ophalen van huisvuil en vuil van bedrijven maakt deel uit van het milieubeleid 2003-2007. Dit plan wordt aangepast en geactualiseerd. Het beleid is primair gericht op preventie, hergebruik en het verantwoord ontdoen van wat niet meer bruikbaar is. Op deze manier blijft een vuilstortplaats langer bruikbaar.”

Dat verklaarde gedeputeerde van Milieu Anthony Nicolaas, president-commissaris is van Selibon. Het beleidsplan heeft drie instrumenten om aan preventie te doen en om het vuil op het eiland terug te brengen: wetten en controle daarop, verwerkingsinstallaties en informatievoorziening.

“De eilandsverordening ‘Afvalstoffen Bonaire’ is het beste instrument om op een verantwoorde manier met vuil om te gaan op het eiland.” Sinds begin dit jaar treedt volgens de gedeputeerde de milieupolitie van Selibon strenger op tegen degenen die de verordening overtreden. De activiteiten van de milieupolitie worden verder uitgebreid.

Om het vuil te verminderen is men begonnen met het proces om glas te recyclen en komt er een weegbrug bij de vuilstortplaats. Informatiecamapgnes moeten vorm geven aan het beleid. In dit kader is er een samenwerkingsovereenkomst met de Nederlandse gemeente Breda. Dit project is om gevaarlijk vuil van ander afval te scheiden. De afdeling Milieu van Drob en Selibon moeten dit project uitvoeren. Er bestaat een rapport ‘Rapportage over bedrijfsbezoeken aan garages Bonaire’ geschreven na een bezoek aan een dertigtal garages.

Volgens gedeputeerde Nicolaas is het via dit beleid dat de overheid het milieu en de natuur beschermt.


“Het vuilophaalbedrijf Selibon maakt goede en slechte tijden mee” zegt Selibon-directeur Yonchi Dortalina. De eerste zeven maanden was er een winst van 575.000 gulden, terwijl er een winst van 200.000 gulden was geprojecteerd.

Bonaire Waste Water Video »

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Waste Water: To whom it may concern

I think that is how they start those official letters. It is now over two months since the films about the landfill and the lack of waste water facilities. Shortly after they were posted on YouTube there was an outcry from the community. Some said they had no idea that we had that kind of situation here on the Island and other said they knew about it but thought the GOVERNMENT had the situation in hand.The Reporter crew did a fantastic job with their coverage of the danger we are facing, "Smoking Gun"  the Arco also covered the issue well. Over 5000 people looked at the films on line. Now comes the question, where do we stand now?
The truth is not much further down the road than we were. Yes, a lot of people know about our problems. That is surely a step forward. Many of us are ready to give both time, energy and money to change the situation. That is also a good step forward. However the Freewinds has no letup in its ability to flush the Island out with whatever they are sending ashore, and still no official statement from them as to what or why we should not worry about their discharging. Arrogant to say the least.
With the formation of the new Island council and its executive council  I can see no reason why the issue at hand namely that of the waste water and the Landfill can not be dealt with as the most important thing on the agenda. In fact, the people should, in my opinion, make them take it up right now!! And deal with it in a clear and transparent manner. To that end a petition will be drafted for you the public to sign. It will be posted on-line at and made available at retail outlets all over the Island. It is of the utmost importance that we not let this continue. As you read the paragraph below I am sure you will all be of the same mind.Thank you all once again for your ongoing support.

Many human health risks can be attributed to improper sewage disposal. Raw sewage contains various pathogens that are easily transmitted through open waterways.   Individuals coming into contact with contaminated water can contract illnesses such as typhoid, tuberculosis, dysentery, cholera, tetanus, hepatitis, and several types of gastroenteritis. Several types of internal parasites are also present in sewage, along with a number of fungal diseases. Also, the health of aquatic species can be adversely impacted leaving them vulnerable to disease after coming in contact with fecal coliform.

Bonaire Landfill »

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Mangrove Village, Bonaire

UPB pleads for balance between conservation and development 

KRALENDIJK – UPB-leader Ramonsito Booi reacted in a press conference on the nullification by the Governor of the Governing Body’s decisions in connection with the Mangrove Village project and the political reactions on this.

One cannot say that UPB is against the conservation of nature, says Booi.  In the past, the party has collaborated on many laws and regulations for the conservation of nature.  “Even though there are many laws for the protection of animals, the politician also considers it important to defend the people.  The people should also be able to live in an acceptable manner.”

UPB is of the opinion that conserving and developing the island must be balanced.  He emphasizes that the same laws must apply to everybody.  A hotel project was started in the area of Sorobon in the sixties, and it failed.  The Island Council decided after that, that no more permits will be granted for projects in that area, but several constructions in this same area were still approved later. 

“Now that Angelo Clarinda wants to build the Mangrove Village, it is suddenly not possible.  There are many other projects under construction in that area, for which an environmental impact assessment was never made”, said Booi.  According to Jopie Abraham, the deed for the project was signed at the office of a notary in Curacao.  Booi doesn’t know what Abraham is talking about.  “Notaries are for the Antilles and the mayor doesn’t have to give permission for signing deeds on another island.  The only reason why the notary here in Bonaire refused to have the deed signed at his office is because he didn’t want to be involved in the quarrel between Clarinda and Nolly Oleana (PDB) that were partners in this project.”

Kroon bevestigt fout BC met Mangrove Village
Bron: 4 Okt, 2007

WILLEMSTAD — Het bestuurscollege van Bonaire verleende de bouwvergunning aan Mangrove Village ten onrechte, staat in een deze week gepubliceerd Kroonbesluit. Voor de bouw van het vakantieresort vlak bij het internationaal beschermde mangrovenatuurgebied Lac Bay was niet de vereiste Milieu Effectrapportage opgesteld.

De kritiek van de gouverneur, waarbij de Kroon zich aansluit, spitste zich vooral toe op de door het bestuurscollege gevolgde procedure. Het eilandsbestuur had een deugdelijke MER-procedure moeten volgen. “Er is wel een rapportje bij de bouwvergunning gevoegd maar daarin staan alleen citaten uit een ander onderzoek voor een andere locatie waaraan bovendien om onbegrijpelijke redenen een positieve draai is gegeven.” Bovendien kon de gouverneur het niet rijmen dat het bestuurscollege tot de bouwaanvraag van Crown steevast bouwaanvragen voor bouwprojecten in of nabij de bufferzone rond het Ramsar-natuurgebied heeft afgewezen.

Het was de eerste keer dat er op grond van de Eilandenregeling Nederlandse Antillen (Erna) een Kroonberoep bij de Raad van State is ingesteld.

Op basis van het Verdrag van Ramsar, dat het gebied internationale bescherming biedt, is een MER verplicht. Het Kroonoordeel is gebaseerd op een advies van de bijzondere commissie van de Raad van State van het Koninkrijk.

Het beroep was ingesteld door het bestuurscollege tegen het besluit van de gouverneur om de verleende bouwvergunning en erfpachtuitgifte van een stuk grond nietig te verklaren.

Projectontwikkelaar (Crown Court Estate) wil op enkele tientallen meters van het internationaal beschermde mangrovenatuurgebied Lac Bay een vakantieresort met 84 appartementen uit de grond stampen. Het unieke wetlandgebied wordt al sinds de jaren zeventig beschermd op grond van het Verdrag van Ramsar.

De bouw van het resort leidt volgens de gouverneur tot onherstelbare schade aan het natuurgebied. Zo is er geen deugdelijke afvalwatervoorziening gepland waardoor afval en rioolwater zo het kwetsbare wetlandgebied kan inlopen. “Zo'n gebied kun je maar één keer kapot maken. Dat heeft de gouverneur met zijn vernietigingsbesluit van januari 2007 willen voorkomen”, zei de raadsman van de gouverneur afgelopen juni tijdens een hoorzitting bij de Raad van State.

It's all a question of priorities.

My thanks to the Arco for hosting the three video clips that were made about Bonaire and the problems we have with waste water, the landfill and illegal quarrying that has been going on in Bonaire for too long.

The feedback was fantastic from the three clips. A lot of people were shocked, some were angry!!! But nearly all only wanted to know what they could do to help the situation. At this point I would like to thank everyone that took the time to watch the clips and write to me. Your support was, and is much appreciated.

Some people were not so supportive however. They gave the opinion that the clips were bad for the island's reputation and that it would be bad for the islands economy to show these situations. To those people I can only say: "Shortsightedness does not only affect the eyes."

Lets deal first with the landfill. This is a situation that we can all help to resolve by taking action right now!!!

Some people were of the opinion that we should wait for financial help from the Netherlands. This is not true. Neither is it true that by pointing a finger at people we might solve the situation. "Finger pointing is a waste of good time". Waiting for the Island council will also not yield much. In fact these are the very reasons we are in this mess, so what's the solution?

Selibon have done an amazing job at keeping this island clean. After 18 years in the Caribbean I can tell you I have never visited an island that was so clean. Even on the road to the landfill, the Selibon team is out every day clearing the road of spill from the trucks going to the landfill. Spill by the way, that would not happen if the trucks were loaded correctly!!

I hope soon to be able to announce that we will have a program in place to take batteries out of the chain. This will take a great burden off the island's eco system. By batteries I mean those from your cell phones, I pods, radios and other personal items. These contain heavy metals. The main objective is to take them all out of the chain. And this can be done! NAPA will take back batteries from cars trucks and boats. They have been doing this for some time. They then send them to the U S for recycling. So thanks to them for that initiative. Nice one, NAPA!!!  

Next up, airco units. When they are put on the landfill nine times out of ten they burst the gas tank, or catch fire. With a proper gas evacuation unit these gases can be taken out of the chain. Gas evacuation units are available. They may not be so cheap, however the gas they take out can be sold ($$$$$$). Yes, this means it could pay for itself by selling the gas off. As we all know gas for airco units is not cheap.

Waste oil need not go to the landfill. Harbor Village has a waste oil dropoff right by the fisherman dock. The guys at the Marina are very helpful too.

I am sure we have seen the yellow bins that are around the town, right. So we know that glass is already being taken out. In the not too distant future, this glass could also be paying for itself but we are not quite there yet. The first step has been made though. We now keep it out of the landfill. I am sure Otto Bartelds will be writing again soon about this project.

Over the next few months I will be writing to keep us all up to date. The main point is: we can do some thing about the problems. TODAY, not tomorrow!!!!! We made this situation and we can resolve it.

June 20th, 2007, Sean Paton


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