The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has expressed condolences on the passing of Dwight Hillocks, Chief Executive Officer of All Island Recycling Inc, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
In a statement, the sub-regional organisation noted that All Islands Recycling Inc (AIR Inc.) is a company that specializes in the gathering and packaging of recyclables.
“Since the introduction of AIR Inc. to St Vincent and the Grenadines in September 2011, the company has significantly contributed to a reduction in plastics in the environment.
“ An existing private-public partnership between AIR Inc. and the Solid Waste Management Agency, has resulted in approximately 38 million containers (plastic bottles and aluminum tins) being removed from the environment and exported for recycling,” it pointed out.
This programme is sustained by the Environmental Levy Act of 1991, which imposed a customs deposit on the importation of items packaged in non-returnable containers (bottles and cans).
Further, the statement said “This deposit-refund strategy provides a financial incentive to collectors, primarily individuals of the lower income strata who are removing the empty containers that litter their communities.
“ The programme is also contributing to the alleviation of poverty among women, who make up 60% of approximately 300 harvesters who sell containers to AIR Inc. monthly”.
Through the ReMLit Project (Building Resilience in the Eastern Caribbean through a Reduction of Marine Litter) and a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU), in 2021, the OECS provided support to AIR Inc. to tackle marine litter. Dwight Hillocks’ contribution to the region demonstrated a successful public-private partnership to address plastic waste in the region, and his efforts are commendable, which now serve to inform the OECS Commission on best practices in developing a model programme for waste separation, collection, and recycling for OECS Member States that take into account self-financing, sustainability, and business viability.
Dwight Hillocks’ commitment to making a difference in reducing plastic pollution in the region will continue for years to come.
He will be profoundly missed, and his memory will live on through our work at the OECS, the statement concludes.
A memorial service for Hillocks, who was cremated last week, will be held on October 29 in St Vincent.