ROSANNA FARMER Guest column
MANY people who live in the north west peninsula, especially those who carry their plastics for recycling to Plastikeep bins might easily think that all is going well with Plastikeep. They do not know that behind this plastic waste recovery project - the clean bins, daily pick-ups, the familiar routine – there is a grave injustice occurring.
Plastikeep was formed in January 2010, as a Green Fund pilot project to determine how a programme of plastic recovery would work in the long term. Would ordinary citizens participate? Would children be enthusiastic enough to collect plastics on their own and actually take to the bins? Would its system be efficient? Would our people be disciplined enough to reduce, reuse, recycle?
All these questions were answered by the Plastikeep project. Proudly it proved to be an astounding success that was fully acknowledged by the Green Fund. Plastikeep went into communities, schools, businesses, and government offices to educate stakeholders and support them with plastic recovery.
Plastikeep maintains 70 metal bins in various locations in the North West Peninsula. From Barataria/Laventille in the east to Westmoorings/Chaguaramas in the west. To date Plastikeep has recovered approximately 2 million pounds of plastic for recycling. The project gathered a tremendous library of information detailing its strategies, its systems, its management prerogatives, its operations, its education systems, its stakeholder networks, its accounting systems.
This means that any interested party, government, or private corporation now has access to a formidable body of information, a virtual template, that could guide and execute policy on not only plastic recovery but for the recovery of other waste by products. In other words, the pilot has been a success. The project was haled a success by the Green Fund, International Development Agencies, regional partners, and our stakeholders.
So why is it, that I, Rosanna Farmer, must be pleading, exhorting, advocating to the point of tears for Plastikeep to be paid outstanding sums of money owed to it since December 2015?
Since 2016, I have been virtually on my own or with a small team of committed volunteers and other persons keeping Plastikeep alive. Since 2016 I have written scores of letters to Government officials, appeared on TV and radio talk shows, met Ministers and other officials, and written many progress reports to the Green Fund, Ministry of Planning and Development, and other agencies keeping them informed of our activities and expenses.
After 37 months of plastic recovery on my own I have finally reached my thither. Should I write another letter to the Prime Minister? The Finance Minister? The Minister of Planning and Development? The Green Fund? Should I hire and attorney? Should I put on my activist boots again? Or should I bring all 70 bins in and let the chips fall where they may? By “chips” I mean, shall I abandon my valued stakeholders and disregard all of their wonderful and disciplined efforts? Let all of that go to waste and leave them to become disenchanted, disgruntled, demoralized?
Please Mr Prime Minister have the Green Fund pay Plastikeep what is outstanding.
Rosanna Farmer is the project director of Plastikeep)