KRALENDIJK- Climate activist Dee Scarr expresses her concern through the media about the broken glass and other waste found in the sea near Bonaire’s North Pier, both by her and others.
According to Scarr, the dumped debris covers an area of over 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter and consists mainly of mechanically crushed wine bottles and other glass waste. What worries Scarr the most is that, in the nine months since the debris was discovered, no action has been taken by the authorities in Bonaire.
Additionally, requests for a nature permit to clean up the waste have gone unanswered. A report has also been submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) in Bonaire, but no response has been received. Scarr also states that she has not received any response from harbormaster Gunther Flanegin. “Harbormaster Gunther Flanegin has not responded to numerous emails requesting permission to dive for the debris. Flanegin insists that the waste is just “ordinary trash,” despite evidence and photos indicating a single non-local dumping,” says Scarr.
Meanwhile, a diver from the Harbor Service has confirmed that the glass and waste are indeed from at least one dumping incident. Flanegin has argued that “ports should expect such waste.”
“The lack of action and response from the authorities raises concerns about the protection of Bonaire’s reefs and the urgency to address this specific waste problem,” says Scarr. She openly questions to what extent the protection of the coral reefs surrounding the island is still a priority for the Public Entity.
According to Scarr, there is a suspicion that the crushed glass and other waste were dumped by Silversea Cruises.
Scarr expresses concern, particularly, about the nonchalant and indifferent attitude of the authorities on the island. “In 2005, a smaller pile of the same kind of waste was found, also near the North Pier. Divers removed that waste in ten days, with the cooperation and appreciation of the former harbormaster. The culprit was prosecuted by the Marine Park and fined.” Scarr says that Silversea Cruises was also involved in that incident.
“Why is Bonaire ignoring a waste dump in 2022 by the same offender who was fined for the same crime in 2005?” Scarr wonders aloud.
Despite the lack of cooperation, Scarr and other volunteers have already processed 193 kilograms of broken glass and other waste from the site of the illegal dumping. “What I wonder is why there is such a lax response to this criminal act. Additionally, I question why volunteers receive so little cooperation in removing the debris as much as possible from this location.”