The Sweetest Summer Festival is going green.
In keeping with the push towards renewable energy and the impending ban on petroleum-based single-use items, the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) is taking the polluting plastics out of its events.
Word of this has come from NCF chief executive officer, Carol Roberts-Reifer, who was speaking to the Sunday Sun as an NCF team, members of the Royal Barbados Police Force and officials from the National Conservation Commission, as well as the Ministry of the Environment, paid a site visit to the National Botanical Gardens on Friday.
The Botanical Gardens, at Waterford, St Michael, will be the site for this year’s Soca Monarch competition, a move away from Bushy Park, St Philip.
“We would want to be as gentle as possible with the environment when we set down. When you set down for an event, regardless of the size, it creates a major impact on the space,” Roberts-Reifer explained.
Noting that the NCF was waiting to see the full contents of the ban on single use plastics, which now comes into effect on July 1, Roberts-Reifer said the intention was always to have a green festival.
“We have already begun discussions with a potential partner to provide vendors and patrons with environmentally-friendly containers,” Roberts-Reifer said.
“And we are about to begin discussions with the Ministry of the Environment as to how we can best handle our collection and disposal of garbage, our separation of garbage at events as well.”
Roberts-Reifer stressed the move was a work in progress and was still in the pilot stage, but should mean that the tonnes of plastic cups, plates, forks and cups and non-biodegradable bags, generated by events, would be a thing of the past. The NCF was also looking at a disposal plan for the cooking oil generated by vendors.
“It is something I am determined to do,” she said.
The green move starts with the Bajarama free events – scheduled to be held at Belleplaine, St Andrew; Three Houses, St Philip; Dover, Christ Church; Friendship, St Michael; Bridgefield, St Thomas and the NCF headquarters in St James and encompasses every event until the end of the festival.
“We want to produce as green a festival as possible, encouraging patrons and vendors and the entertainers and our partners to join with us to help us as well,” she said, adding they were open to suggestions from all interested parties in an attempt to lessen the footprint of the festival.
Roberts-Reifer admitted she knew there would still be an impact on the environment but the NCF was trying to reduce it if possible. She added this was the way forward for all the NCF-produced festivals.
“How can you ignore climate change and all of the other areas of fallout from not protecting your environment and not treating it as gently as you should and as respectfully as you should? So the Foundation is ready to play its part,” she said.
The first NCF event, a Bajarama, is scheduled for May 4. (HLE)