ENVIRONMENT: Many volunteers present for the cleaning of the historic site of the former FOGA salt factory


Dozens of people, as well as several associations participated last Saturday in the cleaning of the old salt factory built in 1862.

The ruins of the old salt factory are a protected heritage site and fall under the protection of the government of Sint Maarten, namely the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS). Due to invasive wildlife and pollution, the historic monument was not easily accessible or visible to the public. An eco-citizen action to clean up and enhance the site was launched by environmental activist Paul Ellinger in collaboration with author and journalist Ralph Cantave.

Paul Ellinger, who is also a nature and landscape photographer, has visited the site in recent weeks and was amazed at the neglected condition of this historic ruin. So he posted a viral message on Facebook, urging people to take part in a much-needed cleanup of the area.

More than 50 people came to lend a hand and eight trips to the landfill were made in total. Besides grass and clipped mangroves, most of the debris consisted of polystyrene, plastic, glass bottles and household items.

Saturday's event was the first phase of the cleanup of the FOGA site. A site that is now visible and easily accessible to the population and tourists. The cleaning was also carried out to raise awareness of the importance of preserving and maintaining this cultural heritage, as well as attracting people to historic structures that contribute to the history of Sint Maarten.

The organizers thank the public for their participation and donations, as well as the Belair Beach Hotel, Carrefour, West Indies Landscape Company (WILCO), Fast Professional Transportation, ONE SXM Foundation, the office of the Ombudsman of St. Maarten, the Lions Club, Bible Baptist Church and Minister ECYS who provided items and refreshments to make the cleanup a success. _AF

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