7/28/17 – Three GSSE MBA students – Chris, Hasina, and Caitlin – are spending their summer in the Caribbean to immerse themselves in the waste and recycling realities of the region.
Smoke fills the sky, a pungent smell fills the air, as I near I can see the flames. British Virgin Islands is home to over 30,000 people. Almost 100% of their waste is being burnt in open landfills or incinerated through an open smoke stack. Improper waste disposal is a common practice throughout the Caribbean. On a large scale, waste-to-energy, recycling and composting are just dreams that have not yet been fully realized. There are a few businesses that are making significant advances in the absence of regulations, which shows that there are potential business opportunities throughout the region. Our Waste Diversion Team is diving head first into the waste disposal issues; learning from the locals, government organizations, businesses, and connecting people through recycling talks and open forum discussions.
We are here to start a recycling revolution.
By spending time in the Caribbean Islands, we are experiencing and learning about how they dispose of their waste, which we could not have ever accomplished in classroom. So far, we have found there is a demand for sustainability initiatives throughout the British Virgin Islands and Trinidad; however, the efforts need to be sustained through social, economic and political changes. We will continue gathering data by conducting interviews, observations and open forum discussions as we continue this journey throughout the Caribbean. We have received praise and requests to continue our efforts to help keep the environment healthy, clean, and hopefully establish trade and/or distribution channels between the islands.