Planning and Development Ministry responds to Forbes Article on Caribbean pollution

The Honourable Camille Robinson Regis, Minister of Planning and Development takes note of a news article in the Forbes Magazine dated September 20th, 2019, entitled “ Caribbean Islands are the Biggest Plastic Polluters Per Capita in the World” which lists Trinidad and Tobago as “the biggest culprit”.

Whilst the intention of the article is to bring to the fore the urgent matter of addressing the issue of solid waste, the data used regarding Trinidad and Tobago was based on an erroneous World Bank publication in 2012 which inaccurately indicated that Trinidad and Tobago’s waste generation figure was 14 kg per capita as opposed to the correct figure of 1.4 kg per capita. 

The World Bank has since revised the article correcting the error. The Forbes article therefore was published using incorrect data for this country as the original incorrect article was used as the reference.

The Honourable Minister reiterates that Government has placed the environment at the center of social and economic development, via the National Development Strategy - Vision 2030, and has been working assiduously to ensure that this is the every day reality in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Minister states that unfortunately citizens continue to exhibit improper waste disposal habits and despite several programmes designed to inculcate new habits, bad habits die hard.

The Minister reiterated that the Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company (SWMCOL) and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), have initiated recycling programmes, such as the ICARE Programme. Furthermore, the recently adopted Beverage Containers Deposit Refund Policy proposes to establish a deposit refund system for recyclable waste, with beverage containers being under the first remit.

This legislation is scheduled to be laid in the Parliament by December 2019. Additionally Cabinet’s policy to ban the importation of non-biodegradable expanded polystyrene (EPS) or styrofoam food and beverage containers, will come into full effect in January, 2020, and manufacture of same in Trinidad and Tobago will also be phased out thereafter. The Ministry of Planning and Development is now also in the process of bringing to the Cabinet for approval the banning of single use plastics. 

Today, The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis joins the world in observing International Coastal Clean-up Day and thanks all the hundreds of citizens throughout Trinidad and Tobago who heeded the call of the Ministry of Planning and Development and it’s partner Agencies to came out to the Beaches and Waterways to cleanup.

The Minister urges citizens to take personal responsibility for our homes, schools, offices, Islands, our Planet and consider how their actions may contribute to pollution and to think and act in a responsible manner.  She took the opportunity to remind fellow citizens that we as citizens working together can solve our pollution challenges, environmental pride is national pride.


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