Exhibition shows off T&T's commitment to protecting the environment

The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development delivered a riveting feature address to secondary school students at the Beyond the Blue Science and Environmental Exhibition hosted by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) on Tuesday 17th September at the NALIS building audio-visual room, Port-of-Spain.

During her address, the Honourable Minister emphasised to the students that the impacts of climate change are real and upon us as evidence in the recently experienced natural disasters around the world; extreme hurricanes, increased weather temperatures and rising sea levels.

Minister Regis also underscored Government’s continued commitment to combating the effects of climate change as well as the protection and preservation of our valuable marine environment. The Honourable Minister stated that Cabinet approved a National Protected Area System Plan for a 4 year period 2015-2019. 

This plan proposes to protect 20,000 km2 of terrestrial and marine areas in order to conserve biodiversity- protecting and managing ecosystems for over 136 species. The system plans include protection of 92 terrestrial sites- 79 in Trinidad and 13 in Tobago, 40 coastal and marine sites- 22 in Tobago and 18 in Trinidad, and includes 4 deep sea marine areas.

The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis also highlighted the establishment of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management System, (ICZM), which was established to improve the quality of life of citizens who depend on coastal resources by promoting economic development and sustainable livelihoods while maintaining the services provided by coastal ecosystems. In addition, the Honourable Minister drove home Government’s commitment to banning Styrofoam and plastic straws to aid in the protection of our nation’s wildlife.

One of the main highlights of the exhibition was Mr. Nathaniel Davis, a Student Artist from the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) who produced a very passionate and impressionable piece of art showcasing what our coral reef looks like alive, struggling and on the verge of death. Mr. Davis indicated that his love and appreciation for the ocean stemmed from his adventures as a member of the Sea Scouts while he was a student at St. Mary’s College. But as the years went by, he realised that beach clean-ups were not solving the severe issues facing our marine environment, motivating him to send the message through art.

Beyond the Blue is a three day exhibition hosted by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) from Tuesday 17th September to Thursday 19th September at the NALIS building Port-of-Spain. It is a tangible achievement of one of IMA’s Strategic goals enshrined in their Five Year Strategic Plan 2019-2023.

This exhibition emphasises the government’s commitment to safe guarding our environment as well as addresses Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’. With this in mind, the aim of this initiative is to raise awareness and foster an understanding of the vast benefits of the ocean and other marine spaces that are vital to our economic sustainability. IMA hopes to inspire a passion for learning among students, where they can become the best version of themselves in protecting our marine environment.

This initiative was supported by Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Republic Bank Limited, Coastal Dynamics, Unit Trust Corporation, Caribbean Airlines Limited, Subway, KFC, Nestle, Massy stores and National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB).

For further information on Beyond the Blue Marine and Science Environmental Exhibition, contact the Institute of Marine Affairs at 634-4291.

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