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Saturday 7 December 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Plastikeep termination not in TT’s best interest

THE EDITOR: Due to lack of funding and any clear direction from the Green Fund, Plastikeep is being forced to pull in its bins at the end of this month and terminate its activities.

The following are reasons why the termination of this project is not in the best interest of the country:

1. The Plastikeep project has added significant economic value to TT. It cannot be reiterated enough that the saving of the ecological systems constitutes a solid economic gain. Ecological systems provide the base for economic practice. When these systems are compromised the economic value to be acquired from these assets are diminished.

Additionally, considerable sums of capital, labour, and ingenuity have already been expended on this project by the Government, our many stakeholders, and ordinary citizens, including schoolchildren and public institutions. All this value could be put at risk if there is discontinuity for lack of a budget.

2. Many of our stakeholders including schools and other institutions have become used to the Plastikeep system. They are a full-fledged part of the Plastikeep routine and indeed look forward to capturing their materials at home and disposing of them in our bins. Plastikeep has become part of the recycling culture of the North West Peninsula and parts of East Port of Spain. The closure of this project will lead to a demoralising influence.

3. It will not be advantageous to the Government and the State institutions involved in this project which have very generously supported it and have very professionally managed and encouraged it. Termination now would reflect badly on the image of the Government.

4. It is not an exaggeration to say that the recycling industry in TT lags badly behind international best practice, including some recycling systems in some of our Caribbean neighbour territories. Plastikeep has forged for itself an enviable and progressive position in both the local and Caribbean context. It will not be to the best advantage of our recycling industry to compromise the prestige of such a unique project simply for the lack of a budgetary provision.

5. One of the places that Plastikeep has made a significant advance is in the classroom. We have been able to, through our diverse pedagogy — for example our annual Plasti-thon, the pilot testing of an environment curriculum in 11 primary schools, recycling programme in 42 schools where material is continually being collected — build an enthusiasm and amazing appetite for plastic recovery. This could be jeopardised if the project is stopped.

6. Plastikeep has developed through trial and error, and at times at considerable financial costs, a routine which includes mutually beneficial relationships with our stakeholders, for example, Ministry of Legal Affairs and its One T&T programme, and Waste Disposals Ltd. This could be jeopardised if the project is terminated.

7. Should the Plastikeep project cease, the significant quantity of plastic materials diverted on a weekly basis from our landfills will end up quite unfortunately being dumped. A very unsettling situation for the country and all those actively involved in environmental conservation.

Please consider this letter and the ramifications of an imminent Plastikeep termination carefully. If indeed the long-term solution for plastics recycling is deemed to be best served in another way, a planned, phased approach to shifting operations is far more practical and viable to the immediate termination suggested by the Green Fund’s non-action in this matter.


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