Biosecurity Bins Handed Over to Strengthen Fight Against Invasive Alien Species

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In a significant step towards raising public awareness on the dangers of Invasive Alien Species (IAS), the Department of Environment St. Kitts (DOE) in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), participated in the official handing over of four biosecurity bins to be distributed as part of the “Declare, Deposit or Pay” campaign, which is part of the ‘Preventing the Costs of Invasive Alien Species in Barbados and the OECS’ Project (IAS Project).

Present at the official handing-over were key figures driving this initiative, including Eavin Parry, Environmental Officer II and IAS Project Director at the Department of Environment, Millicent McSheen and Guy Richardson Quarantine Assistants, Chaira Flanders Head of Media and Communications at the Ministry of Agriculture and representative from St. Christopher Air and Seaport Authority (SCASPA) namely, Jamo Gishard Senior Pilot, Keisha Huggins Senior Operation Clerk and Kyran Pereira Junior pilot.

The IAS Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), executed by the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and supported by several participating countries which includes ST. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda, aims to diminish the impact of IAS and protect the Caribbeans biodiversity.

The “Declare, Deposit or Pay” campaign would feature at air and seaports across the region and aims to sensitize travelers to the perils of transporting IAS, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Such invasives include animals, animal products, fruits, vegetables, plant materials, soil, and debris being brought into the island.

Four (4) of these biosecurity bins were handed over to the Quarantine Unit of the Department of Agriculture, where two bins were placed at the ports of entry on St. Kitts and two bins on Nevis. The need to protect our biodiversity and future was emphasized at the handing over of the bins By Jamo Gishard Senior Pilot, at St. Christoper Air and Sea Port Authority.

This was echoed by the Quarantine Unit of the Agriculture Department which expressed,
“The action done here today aims to bring further awareness to the Invasive Alien Species threat and act as a means by which the mitigation and management of IAS are being undertaken”.

According to Eavin Parry from the Department of Environment, “the biosecurity bins are not mere containers; they are a symbol of our determination to protect our environment. By urging travelers to declare or deposit potential risks, we reduce the threat of IAS in our islands, safeguarding our biodiversity and our community’s future.”

The biosecurity bins represent the collective effort to combat IAS. They serve as a visual reminder of the importance of responsible travel practices and individual responsibility in preserving the Caribbean’s natural treasures.

The “Declare, Deposit or Pay” campaign’s goal is clear: safeguarding national and Caribbean biodiversity while protecting the livelihoods of the people who call this beautiful region home. By raising awareness and inspiring behavioural change, this initiative is a vital step towards our Sustainable State Agenda.

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