Thursday, 22 September 2016

Environmental Pride is National Pride

The International Coastal Clean-up (ICC), held annually on the third Saturday in September, is the world’s largest one-day volunteer effort to clean the marine environment. This year marks Trinidad and Tobago’s fourteenth year of involvement in the ICC. The Ministry of Planning and Development which has responsibility for the Environment was a major sponsor and an active participant in the day’s events. One-hundred and eighty volunteers boarded the C / Prowler at Pier 1 Chaguaramas, among whom the volunteers were the Minister of Planning and Development Mrs Camille Robinson-Regis, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development Mrs. Joanne Deoraj, Planning and Development staff members including representatives from the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD), Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA), and Environmental Management Authority (EMA), volunteers from the Port Authority Sports Club, Hakwai Clan, Trinidad Carnival Diaries, Earth Strong Trinidad and Tobago and members of the public were also aboard the vessel bound for the isle of Chacachacare.

After approximately two hours volunteers amassed over 1,700 pounds of trash but were left feeling disappointed as the island looked much the same as when they arrived. The quantity of garbage discarded throughout the island was a jarring reminder of the need to care for the environment and protect our oceans. Single use items such as Styrofoam cups, plates, containers and plastic bottles were among the most common litter found. Ocean trash is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of people, wildlife and local economies. It has the potential to kill marine animals, injure swimmers, damage property such as boat propellers and poison our waters and seafood. 

Once washed ashore trash becomes an eyesore and can harbor rodents, as was discovered on Chacachacare. These waterborne materials can also enable the transport of invasive (alien) species over long distances, harm marine wildlife through entanglement or ingestion, and release toxins when they begin to disintegrate, which can contaminate the food chain. Reducing the amount of waste entering out waterways is a commitment that we must all make if we are to preserve our environment.
Reducing the amount of waste entering the environment is one of the Government's major environmental commitments. The Government is presently pursuing initiatives for the environmentally sound management of waste in Trinidad and Tobago. The iCARE project is the EMA’s National Recyclable Solid Waste Collection Project which aims to instill an attitude of conservation and recycling through an educational recycling campaign.

The Ministry of Planning and Development once more thanks all participants for the time and effort that they gave towards bringing awareness to and fighting against this national issue, and we encourage everyone to do their part in their sphere of influence as we work to move Trinidad and Tobago from a cleaned society to a clean society. Join the movement. Environmental Pride is National Pride.

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