There has been significant improvement in the amount of garbage left on Chacachacare Island when compared to last year’s International Coastal Cleanup.
This according to Agriculture Minister, Clarence Rambharat, after the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup on the island today.
The clean up was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA), Environmental Management Authority (EMA), and the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.
Last year, the Ministry of Planning and Development recorded 1,714 pound of garbage collected on the island while the total amount of garbage collected across the country was 4,029 pounds. This year, 1,083 pounds were collected and divided into plastic, glass, and general waste in 108 bags.
“Compared to March 2017 when we came down to clean Chacachacare , I found there was about half the amount of trash this time around. Maybe people have reduced how much they leave on Chacachacare, maybe the CDA is doing more in terms of cleaning up or ensuring that the party boats do the clean up. It was a good sign.”
Despite the positive step, Rambharat said the organisations still had a long way to go to change the culture of the people visiting the island.
He said after the 2016 cleanup they decided to partner with EMA, CDA, and a number of other groups to keep Chacachacare clean. Therefore, he said the Ministry would return in six months to check on the state of the island.
“We have taken responsibility alongside the CDA and EMA for Chacachacare, and other parts of the country. But we want to make sure that the communities are there to participate and once the communities are engaged the Ministry would make sure that it works with other partners to assist.”
Rambharat said as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the Ministry also had a cleanup activities at the beach at Church Road, Mayaro with the TT Electricity Commission.
Approximately 100 volunteers participated in the event including Senator Avinash Singh and EMA director John Julien. Children and mature people were also present, making a positive contribution to the environment.
Lisa Mitchell of Arima, an employee with the EMA, was present with her three children aged 9, 11 and 21. She said she had been attending the cleanup for years and was glad to do her part in the improvement of TT.
Her 11-year-old daughter, Samantha Wanliss worked hard picking up plastic bottles, collecting more than five large garbage bags of the litter in less than an hour. She said she was part of the Environment Club at her school, Bishop Anstey East, which she joined because she heard about the “amazing stuff” the club did, such as participating in the Green Leaf competition.
Although she did not appreciate being woken up at 5 am on a Saturday, Wanliss said she cared about the environment and wanted to make a difference.