Public Entity Bonaire reflects on World Environment Day

KRALENDIJK- The Public Entity Bonaire (OLB) stands still at the celebration of World Environment Day on June 5, 2022. The Executive Council points out that under the motto “Only One Earth” the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) draws attention to the critical condition of the earth.

In the last week of May, our island was in the news at least three times in connection with climate change. It started with a press release from the public body in which the Executive Council reports that it is considering setting up a “Climate Table Bonaire”. “This is a platform where all information relevant to the island about climate change is brought together and analyzed in order to map the possible consequences of the predicted drought, more extreme weather and sea level rise”.

The next day, an alarming Greenpeace report was published entitled “Future of Bonaire”. Greenpeace refers to the latest report from the United Nations Scientific Climate Agency (IPCC) which states: “Sea level rise poses an existential threat to island states, low-lying coastal areas and their communities, infrastructure and cultural heritage”.

A few days later we can read that Minister Mark Halbers of Infrastructure and Water Management, in response to questions from the House of Representatives about the National Water Program 2022 – 2027, states that no water safety standards are required for the Caribbean Netherlands. “This is related to the fact that the BES islands are located above sea level and do not have densely populated and deep-lying polders as in the low-lying European Netherlands”.


The Executive Council rightly says in its press release that the threat of climate change does not only come from the sea. “Drought will affect local agriculture. Fewer, but much heavier rain showers will cause flooding and due to the warming of the sea water Bonaire will be hit more often by storms. The warming of the seawater poses a threat to the coral and therefore also to the most important economic pillar of our island: tourism”.

Greenpeace cites a recent KNMI report stating that “Inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands are faced with high water levels and flooding due to storms, for example. Parts of Bonaire will become uninhabitable. Erosion of the coasts and beaches that are slowly being swallowed by the sea will also have a major impact on tourism. Either way, the next generation of islanders will end up in a very different landscape.”

All in all, not a reassuring prediction. It is important that we realize that there is only one Bonaire on this globe, which is also one of a kind.

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