latest news in Aruba

ORANJESTAD (September 2, 2018) – Once a week, on Sundays I write about the most relevant and interesting happenings on the island in my weekly newsletter.

This weeks edition features the top news headlines in Aruba.

Subscribing to my newsletter is an ideal way to stay up to date with what’s going on in Aruba – whether you’re living on the island, miles away or your first visit!  

If this is your first time reading my newsletter – welcome!

Aruba Will Ban Single Use Plastic As of 2019

Aruba takes another important step in the direction of a healthy environment after the Government announced that all single use plastic will be banned.

There will be a one year transition phase as of January 1, 2019 to slowly get everyone onboard to ban the distribution and usage of single use plastic products and foam boxes.

All single use plastic products will be officially banned in 2020.

The full list of plastic items that will be banned has yet to be released, but it will include cups, straw and styrofoam boxes.

The Aruban Government already prohibited the use of plastic bags in 2017. So if you’re going grocery shopping, remember to bring a reusable bag.

Not only will single use plastic be banned, but also sunscreens that contain oxybenzone.

Oxybenzone is a chemical found in sunscreens that provides UV coverage. But it is a danger to corals and marine life.

Recent studies confirmed that chemicals in many popular sunscreens can bleach corals which prevents them from reproducing and surviving.

Are you going to make the change to more environmentally friendly sunscreens?

Here’s some recommendation for the best sunblocks that don’t contain harmful chemicals.

Inkberry Tree Discovered in Aruba

The department of agriculture confirmed the presence of inkberry (Scaevola plumieri) on the north coast of the island.

It’s a completely new species of flora that’s growing on the dunes, for the first time ever!

Inkberry was initially spotted by an author of several books about flora that grows on the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao).

Inkberry field on the north coast dunes!

How did this tree started to grow on the island?

Experts say the inkberry fruit seeds float with sea currents across the ocean and with the help of sea birds made its way to the north coast of the island.

It’s a small shrub tree with thick dark green leaves and it has a purple black fruit.

The fruits taste bitter but is harmless if you eat one.

Inkberry tree

The department of agriculture spotted another tree similar to inkberry named beach naupaka, but on the other side of the island in Savaneta.

Beach naupaka tree (Scaevola Tavada) is better known as sea lettuce or beach cabbage.

The tree is used to make traditional medicine for skin treatment conditions.

beach cabbage

Inkberry and beach naupaka are close relative, because they resemble each other and often found in the same places.

However, the beach naupaka is an invasive tree species and other hand inkberry is listed as threatened.

The department of agriculture is considering adding inkberry and beach naupaka to the protected list of flora and fauna in Aruba.

The amount of inkberry trees and beach naupaka is very limited on the island, because they just started growing, so they are vulnerable to extinction.

You can help preserve these new tree species by not driving on the beaches or dunes with any motorized vehicles.

New Culture Themed Post Stamps

The post office of Aruba released a new variety of beautiful culture themed stamps for collection on August 13, 2018.

Let’s take a look at these post stamps and their meaning.

Dera Gai

Dera Gai – 90 Cents

This stamp represents one of the biggest cultural celebrations on the island – Dia di San Juan better known as Dera Gai.

Dera Gai takes place in Aruba on the night of June 23rd through the 24th.

The word “Dera Gai” means “Bury the Rooster” in English.

The tradition goes all the way back to native Arubans that would bury a live rooster as an offering to thank for good harvest and as a prayer for the next crop.

Nowadays in Aruba, Dera Gai is celebrated with song and dance. And men are blindfolded and they try to hit a plastic rooster with a stick (real roosters are no longer used for the festival).

Aloe Tree

130 cent – Aloe

The older Aruba generation would use aloe trees as a amulet.

They  planted aloe in their yard entrance, believing that the tree keeps away negative energy and evil from their home.

This tradition is not practiced in the modern days, but there are still a lot of houses that have aloes in their yard.

Folkloric Dresses

220 cent – Folkloric Dance Costumes

This stamp represents the folkloric dance costumes used during cultural events, musical presentations and traditional festivals.

Piska Cora!

420 cent – Typical Aruban Food

The gastronomy in Aruba is influenced by several countries in the world including the Caribbean, Latin America and even Europe.

Nowadays there’s more influence on food in Aruba as ever. But it wasn’t always like this, because back then the native Arubans used to eat what was provided by the sea – lots of fresh red fish!

A typical dish in Aruba has funchi or pan bati “corn bread”, plantains, red fish and fresh lime juice.

You can buy these post stamps at the post office in Oranjestad, Santa Cruz and San Nicolas.

The collection consist of 4 posts worth $5.00

Aruba & Curacao Agree To Sign Fast Ferry Agreement Soon

Minister of transport recently reunited with the prime minister of Curacao about the fast ferry project.

During the meeting they made a mutual decision to move forward with the project between the two islands.

Both governments are sure that the fast ferry will positively impact the commercial, economic and social liaison between the islands.

A memorandum of understanding will soon be signed between the two islands to continue the development of the fast ferry.

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