“Protect the Great Salt Pond” petition over 700 signatures and still running

The Petition to Protect the Great Salt Pond is open for signatures at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library and the St. Maarten Museum, said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

The petition calls for Parliament here to “immediately put in place zoning legislation to conserve the Great Salt Pond” and “Stop Landfill Expansion, Dumping, and Pollution in the Great Salt Pond.”

Dance diva Clara Reyes signing the Petition to Protect the Great Salt Pond while BFC member R. Ward looks on following the Great Salt Pond tribute (2/24/11), Philipsburg Jubilee Library. (Saltwater Collection)

We’re inviting all community-minded people from throughout our island to sign this petition for a good cause at the library or the museum,” said Sekou.

Sponsored by HNP, the petition was launched at the Tribute to the Great Salt Pond featuring Sekou’s poetry and dance by Nicole de Weever on February 24, 2011. Both artists signed the petition along with 126 of the some 200 people at the concert, confirmed Sekou.

Since opening the petition, over 700 people have signed, including those signing at thepetitionsite.com/678/petition-to-protect-the-great-salt-pond, said Sekou.

The signature drive continues and the salt pond petition will remain available for signing in person and at thepetitionsite.com to gather as many signatures as possible.

“We’re also encouraging the people of St. Martin to sign the petition as a way to unite individual voices of isolated concern, grief at the continued pollution, and pride in heritage toward concrete zoning and conservation of the great pond,” said Sekou.

The “key objectives” of the petition are outlined on the petition in five categories: Oppose the expansion of the Great Salt Pond landfill; Assure the protection of people, wildlife, and the wetlands; Redirect and enhance the Territory’s government’s approach; Include solid waste management for government agencies as a fundamental element of urban and Territorial planning; and Preserve and protect the Great Salt Pond.

The online signatures are from people on- and off-island, “including St. Martiners and their descendants living and studying abroad,” and people who have visited the island as tourists, said Sekou. Some of the petition supporters are leaving comments as well.

For further information about signing the Petition to Protect the Great Salt Pond, or even to share ideas of how to make the petition more effective when it is finally submitted to Parliament, contact houseofnehesipublish@gmail.com.

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