Firing up the recycling culture in T&T
The second phase of the Environmental Management Authority’s iCARE (Community, Awareness, Recycle, and Every day) project was launched on Wednesday January 24th, 2018.
The Recyclable Solid Waste Collection Project which began in 2015 as a successor to the Beverage Container Collection Project seeks to go a step further, with the inclusion of other types of solid waste, more specifically tyres and e-waste.
In 2018, the Recyclable Solid Waste Collection Project will be rebranding and expanding into schools and communities nationwide, redefining the concept in Trinidad and Tobago of waste as trash to one where waste is valued as a resource.
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development and the line Minister for the Environmental Management Authority emphasised the “ICARE project forms a critical part of the Government’s thrust to engender a recycling culture in Trinidad and Tobago.” She continued, “The project undertaken by the EMA in conjunction with SWMCOL and the various Regional Corporations, is an important first step in the infrastructural and logistical preparation of the country for the passage of the EMA’s Waste Rules and other relevant legislation with respect to a deposit and refund system for beverage containers.”
Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Rural Development and Local Government stimulated a call to action with his words, “We see you doing wrong, we are standing together against you,” showing support for citizens who care and actively employ efforts to correct environmental damage. Senator the Honourable Robert Le Hunte, Minister of Public Utilities stated his vision for the potential of the ICARE Project as a transitional tool for Trinidad and Tobago’s citizenry asserting “As we move as people of Trinidad and Tobago from being spectators to citizens, we all have to become part of the change process. We can no longer just talk about change.”
Also in support of the project was Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, who initiated and impromptu walk about clean up with his willing colleagues after the unveiling of the bin on the Brian Lara Promenade to where Arie Alexis Cowrie entertained the audience with her velvet voice and single “Feelings”, reminding the crowd as part of our Vision 2030 National Strategy that “Environmental Pride is National Pride”, the mantra of the Ministry of Planning and Development’s environmental units.
Some of the activities completed in phase I of the iCare Project project to date include:
- Two weekends of island-wide curbside recyclable collection were conducted: Aug 22-24, 2015 (344 trucks; 2786 bags) & Aug 29-30, 2015 (232 trucks; 3349 bags);
- Establishment of branded bins in seventy (70) Collection Sites;
- Collected over 370,000 bags of recyclables from collections sites around the island;
- Conducted sensitization sessions for Corporate entities, Summer Camps and Schools;
- Hosted a Recycling Exhibition at UTT O’Meara which featured companies & organizations involved in recycling initiatives April 2017;
- Collaborated with Ministry of Rural and Local Government for the Nationwide Clean Up Campaign in Jan – May 2017;
- Partnered with NGOs for clean-up/collection activities: United Way, Cashew Gardens, International Coastal Clean-up and many more;
- Establishment of three (3) pilot depots for the collection, sorting and data capture of recyclable materials from collection sites situated all across Trinidad.
To further engender a recycling culture in Trinidad and Tobago, the Government in March 2017 agreed to the Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) undertaking the functions of a Waste Recycling Authority. The Ministry of Public Utilities is currently undergoing the necessary administrative adjustments to make this happen.