T&T’s environmental efforts receive commendations at Kenya UN Environment Assembly
Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, as the head of a two person delegation representing Trinidad and Tobago at the Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly and the 2019 UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment in Nairobi, Kenya, officially pledged Trinidad and Tobago’s participation as a member of the global Clean Seas Campaign on March 14, 2019.
The other member of T&T’s delegation is Ms. Keima Gardiner, Waste Management Specialist with the Ministry of Planning and Development.
Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, and Paraguay are the three newest nations joining UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign, bringing the number of countries now involved in the world’s largest alliance for combatting marine plastic pollution to 60. Trinidad and Tobago is one of 20 of these nations hailing from Latin America and the Caribbean. In her Country Presentation to the UN Environmental Assembly Minister Robinson-Regis stated, “We are delighted to join this powerful global movement to tackle marine plastic pollution.
As a twin-island with limited space, we are keen to develop sustainable waste management solutions and expand our recycling capacity. We have seen the devastating effect of plastic on our beaches and we want to be part of the global solution”.
Minister Robinson-Regis stated that Trinidad and Tobago, now being a part of this major UN initiative has shown the global community that as a nation we are focused on the goal of reducing marine litter, in particular plastics, which we all know have a devastating effect on all marine life and a consequent effect on the quality of Marine life. The objective is to target the problem at its root and encourage active participation all over the world.
In close collaboration with key partners, Governments, NGOs, businesses and citizens Trinidad and Tobago’s aim must be to minimize the use of single-use plastics and non-recoverable micro plastics and their impact on the marine environment. In Trinidad and Tobago over 11 300 kg of trash was collected from 40 km of beach in September 2018’s International Coastal Cleanup. In 2017, 1 827 kg were collected from 12.7 km of beach and in 2016, 10 539 kg collected from 32 km of beach ranking us high for small island states. This shows that we have a litter problem which must be addressed.
In 2018, Trinidad and Tobago joined the Commonwealth Blue Charter which is an agreement by all 53 Commonwealth countries to actively co-operate to solve ocean-related problems and meet commitments for sustainable ocean development. The Charter of the Commonwealth – signed by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 – provides the underlying principles for the Blue Charter, ensuring that the Commonwealth takes a fair, equitable, inclusive and sustainable approach to ocean economic development and protection.
Trinidad and Tobago also came in for kudos during a Global Marine Litter Networking Luncheon on March 14, receiving a commendation for the fact that one Carnival band, Tribe, in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Hello Green and SWMCOL participated in this year’s Carnival as a ‘green band’. The call was made for other cities to follow T&T’s example.
Minister Robinson-Regis emphasizes that the Government is dedicated to ensuring that our commitments to environmental protection as signatories to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals will be upheld via Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2030 which has as one of its five themes ‘Placing the Environment at the Centre of Economic and Social Development’ (Theme V). Initiatives and partnerships such as these demonstrate our willingness for a positive change.