The Ministry of Planning and Development says Government has not abandoned the Plastikeep recycling programme.
Plastikeep Founder and Director Rosanna Farmer has reported the project has begun to shut down and remove their recycling bins due to more than a $1 million in outstanding debts and no funding from the Green Fund despite an application sent two years ago.
The ministry, in a release, said the bins were Government property and should not be removed without authorisation.
In a separate release, the ministry said it wished to highlight facts surrounding the matter due to current concerns.
The ministry said the Green Fund had granted significant funding to Plastikeep over a five-year period and another Plastikeep project was currently receiving their attention. The ministry reported from January 2010 to August 2011, Plastikeep received $901,205.00, from October 2011 to March 2015 the project received $8,680,532.00 and from April 2015 to December 2015 funding to the amount of $1,097,947.00 was awarded for a total of $10,679,684.
The ministry said the project approached the end of Phase 2 in March 2015 and the organisation lobbied in the public domain for continued funding which was granted for Phase 3 which commenced in April 2015.
The project was approved and certified for a period of six months with an interim budgetary allocation for the period April 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015. This funding was further extended to March 31, 2016.
“The Government has therefore fulfilled all of its contractual obligations to Plastikeep,” the release said.
“Although the Ministry with responsibility for the environment can support the endeavours of any organisation meeting the criteria for funding under the Green Fund, the continued disbursement of funds to one organisation cannot continue indefinitely; hence the need for projects to become self-reliant.”
The release added that Plastikeep had not become financially self-reliant; had failed to address weaknesses in their approach to recycling that had been brought to their attention; had failed to extend the project past the North West Peninsula of TT; had not produced a business plan to date; and that 60 per cent of Plastikeep’s operations costs were staff- and project management-related.
The release also said “the diversion of plastic materials fit for recycling from the landfills” was continuing through the Environmental Management Authority’s recyclable solid waste collection project called ICARE.