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Do more to protect environment

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
NGOs call on Govt

Two environmental groups yesterday felt that Government was not doing enough to protect the environment, as they called for the ban of styrofoam and plastic bottles to save the environment.

The call was made in observance of World Environment Day yesterday by Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) and Wildlife Environmental Protection of T&T (WEPTT).

Secretary of FFOS Gary Aboud felt that the Government was not doing enough to protect the environment and educate citizens about environmental issues.

He said in some countries, an environmental right is a human right.

“Trinidad and Tobago has a long way to go especially in educating our leaders to be sensitive and to understand the meaning of the word sustainable.”

Aboud said past and present governments have turned a blind eye to critical environmental reports that outline the impact developmental projects have on the environment.

He said when bad decisions are made by people at the top, citizens live with a lifetime of regrets.

“We have serious problems with the food we eat…with cancers and diseases. There is cancer in plastics and yet we are addicted to styrofoam even though we have environmental friendly health options,” Aboud said.

Styrofoam, which is non-biodegradable is dangerous to humans, animals and the environment.

Aboud said the banning of styrofoam should be a priority of this Government, while the two-decade old Beverage Containers Bill should be on Parliament’s agenda, as there was a need for curbing plastic pollution at our beaches.

President of WEPTT Kristopher Rattansingh said the Government has not been doing enough to fight against air and water pollutions, littering, waste reduction, oil spills, soil erosion and global warming.

Rattansingh said while the recent cutting of mature Poui trees along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway was required for the development of the Curepe Interchange project, he wondered if a fresh crop of trees would be replanted when the interchange is completed.

Rattansingh said his group was also standing in solidarity with farmers who are against the development of government housing projects on lands near the St Augustine Nurseries. He said the nursery is one of the largest green spaces along the East-West corridor which should be protected.

“The fact that Government wants to cut down (diseased) trees was not well thought out it since farmers and horticulturalists used the nurseries for grafting and seeding purposes. This area should be protected at all cost,” he said.

He said some citizens contribute to flooding in the rainy season by their indiscriminate dumping of garbage in watercourses and rivers.

“The problem is that while there is a fine for littering there is no enforcement. It’s about time we enforce our litter laws and have litter wardens out there doing their jobs. We should not have clean-up campaigns at rivers and beaches. No one should clean another person’s garbage.”

Rattansingh also took the Government to task for not banning styrofoam and plastic bottles.

“There was a lot of talks about this and then it subsided. The issue should be brought to the fore again. This should be a priority of this Government. We are polluting our country with plastic bottles.”

He said T&T has no plan in sight to recycle plastic bottles into useful materials.

In January, Government took the decision to roll back a plan to ban the use of styrofoam products to allow business owners to clear incoming goods, Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis had said. Robinson-Regis said then that a committee which had been formed to look at the styrofoam ban was given a one-year deadline to submit a report, but it was moved up to mid-year.


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