Press Release

Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour
Release Date:
Monday, 5 June 2023 - 5:35pm

Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley is urging the people of the Territory to do their part to protect the environment by reducing the use of plastics and engage in recycling.

As the Territory observes World Environment Day on June 5, Premier Wheatley said the overuse and improper disposal of plastics is one of the gravest threats to the planet and is calling on everyone to do their part in protecting the environment.

The Premier said twenty-two percent (22%) of waste in the Virgin Islands is plastics and sixty percent (60%) of what currently ends up in the recycling bins is plastic water bottles.

 “Everyone must remember to do their part, not only on this day, but every day,” the Premier said. 

Dr. the Honourable Wheatley added, “As residents of these beautiful Islands, we are privileged to live, in a place where we can still enjoy fresh air, lush green mountains, and pristine clear blue waters, pollution free. It is our duty, however, to ensure that we continue to protect our environment at all costs so that generations after ours can continue to enjoy our beautiful environment.”

The Ministry responsible for Natural Resources is encouraging other ministries and their departments, as well as statutory bodies, the private sector and the entire community to join the movement to reduce plastic use and increase recycling efforts.

Permanent Secretary Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley added that the efforts to protect the environment should be the business of each person living in the Virgin Islands. 

“As a tourist-oriented Territory, residents need to be aware that a clean environment makes this Territory an even more preferred destination, thus strengthening our tourism product and the economy,” Mr. Smith-Berkeley said.   

This year’s theme for World Environment Day focuses on the solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution. Globally, some 400 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated per year. Fifty percent (50%) of all plastic produced is designed to be used just once, such as water bottles, plastic bags and most food packaging.

World Environment Day is a celebration of the United Nations and this year is hosted by the Ivory Coast in partnership with the Netherlands. More information can be found at

The Government of the Virgin Islands continues to manage the natural resources of the Territory in a manner that ensures long-term sustainability.