Tobago generated on average 233,000 litres of waste oil annually over a four-year period from 2013-2016, according to findings and analysis of a 2017 census facilitated by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the Caribbean Region (BCRC-Caribbean) and endorsed by the Tobago House of Assembly. (THA).
The survey, which was commissioned to ascertain annual volumes of waste-oil generation on the island and to investigate storage and disposal methods, falls under a wider national project for Waste Oil Management Systems for Trinidad and Tobago (WOMS-TT), funded by the Green Fund. It is purposed to introduce solutions that mitigate and/or control environmental damage caused by poor storage and disposal of the hazardous substance.
Forty-eight stakeholders from three key sectors - transport, professional services and public utilities – comprised the survey sample. The census showed that in 2016, 69 percent of waste oil was disposed of at the Studley Park waste facility, while approximately three percent was shipped to Trinidad. Most of the remaining 28 percent of waste oil produced
locally was dumped in the soil; drain or water courses, with significantly lesser quantities stored permanently at generation sites.
Commenting on the findings, Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment Secretary, Kwesi Des Vignes said that while the majority of stakeholders demonstrated environmentally positive behaviours, increasing levels of transport over the years rendered the Studley Park facility unsustainable and a potential environmental risk to the Island.
“Despite the financial situation nationally, restoring the island’s environmental integrity and sustainability is an urgent focus for us in Tobago as these are at the heart of our eco-brand and Tourism thrust. We in the Assembly,
together with our partners at the BCRC-Caribbean, are fervently pursuing solutions to remedy the waste oil management challenge on the island; a big part of which involves educating the public on the issues of waste oil, particularly those closest to its generation,” said Des Vignes.