PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Standing behind saving the planet, Tzu Chi Foundation and Managing Director of Spaceless Gardens Denicio Wyatte, have embarked on a journey to build the consciousness of recycling and agriculture amongst pupils and in the community with an Eco Tourism Agricultural Learning initiative.
For the initiative, Tzu Chi and Spaceless Gardens are using recycled large yellow plastic bottles for agricultural purposes.
The yellow plastic bottles, which were originally used to store cooking oil, were initially reused in a gardening recycle project embarked upon by All Children’s Education (ACE) Foundation and Tzu Chi with the help of American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine volunteers last year. The sides of the bottles were removed, soil placed in them and various crop planted in them. The bottles with plants were placed on space-saving, plant “risers” made from used wooden pallets, for them to grow.
However, due to lack of understanding how to take proper care of the plants, the project did not reap the intended results, which discouraged some pupils and teachers.
The Tzu Chi Foundation and Spaceless Gardens intend to try the project again to give teachers and pupils the proper knowledge to help them achieve their goals and make the project a success. The project, which will be an ongoing one, recently started with ACE pupils and teachers.
“We are sure people are now familiar with the yellow plastic bottles that use to sit out front of the ACE Foundation school across from Cake House on L.B. Scott Road,” Wyatte said. ”The idea to take back up the bottles and replant in them came from my colleagues at the Tzu Chi Foundation. The bottles were just sitting around and made no sense to just let them pollute the very ground we intend to reap food from. Once again it was a joy to share ideas and help each other towards making the outcome successful.”
Wyatte said “it’s always interesting to try new ways of gardening using items that may be reused instead of being thrown away. Even though this is not a new trend, we still love to continue building the awareness towards agricultural development here on our beautiful island.”
Recycled bottles use for planting Bak Choy at the Tzu Chi Foundation’s Eco Tourism Agricultural Learning (Denicio Wyatte photo).