What Mauritius Could Learn From Rodrigues About Environment Protection

Rodrigues has committed itself to adhering to green energy as a way to restore and conserve the pristine nature of the environment. After having banned the use of plastic bags, it is now considering waste management programs: recyling of wastes seems like the way to go! Can Mauritius rival with this kind of active commitment?

mtius & rodrigues

 

Plastic bag ban, recyling of wastes, compost project…

Rodrigues is taking yet another green step. After the plastic bag ban, it is now looking forward to the recycling of wastes. The new aim is to effectively regulate the management of wastes. The commisioner of the environment, Jean Richard Payendee, has made the observation that 80 % of the wastes are recyclable. During a workshop whereby the issue was discussed, he said that learning more about waste management would allow to put this method into practice. Another project has already been launched: following Mauritius in its steps, Rodrigues will now embark on a compost project as well. The population of Rodrigues will thereafter be given the proper training for the matter.

Jean Richard Payendee is positive about turning Rodrigues into an environmental-friendly island. They wish to do so in a step-by-step manner. More green projects are in the pipeline: wind farms, desalinasation of seawater, collection of rainwater, photovoltaic panels… All of these put Rodrigues at an advanced stage compared to Mauritius…

Mauritius lagging behind in terms of green business?

For now, any person found with a plastic bag will have to pay a fine of up to Rs 500. If he persists, he will be liable to paying a fine of Rs 1000. Those found guilty of selling or distributing plastic bags will have fines of Rs 2000 to Rs 10 000. All this for the sake of the health of the environment. Gone are the days where it is acceptable to dump plastic bags in waterways. Water pollution leads to the death of corals, and as a consequence, the death of aquatic species.
Can we help but notice how Mauritius is lagging behind?! According to the statistics of the Ministry of the Environment, Mauritians use around 113 millions of plastic bags per year, with only 27 % of these recycled. Remediating the situation would require major changes, and disruptions – 50 firms are engaged in the manufacture of the plastic. Banning the use of plastic bags would result in the redundance of the firms, in the aftermath of which many Mauritians will be rendered unemployed. Rodrigues could afford to make that step because it does not produce the plastic bags; rather, they import these products.

What to say of green energy which Rodrigues acquired well before Mauritius did? Since some years now, Rodrigues has been equipped with a number of wind farms: one of 180 kilowatts at Trefles, and another more powerful one of 1 100 kilowatts at Grenade. These cater for more than 10 % of the energy requirements of the Rodrigues population. Mauritius, however, is still new to this trend.

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