ON World Environment Day, environmental partners are preparing to make good on a commitment to consolidate action on coastal erosion. The planting of 2,500 native trees along Tobago’s north-eastern coast is earmarked for communities from Roxborough to Castara. Close to 13,000 residents can rest easy, as this brings greater security for their homes, properties and livelihood, under threat due to increasing wave action and rising sea levels. Lambeau is also included in the initiative.
Over the next seven months, the Environment Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC) and Environment Tobago, together with the North East Tobago Climate Change Champions Network and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will roll out a plan to restore the weakening coastline. According to ERIC, approximately 50 per cent of the coastal area that is a part of a planned Marine Protected Area and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has eroded to varying degrees.
Director/CEO ERIC, Aljoscha Wothke said, “Trees are living organisms that are able to withstand adverse weather conditions over long periods of time. It [planting trees] is the most efficient and affordable way to protect the coastlines.”
Secretary for the Environment Kwesi Des Vignes said this project was one of the action items agreed upon at the Tobago Environmental Partnership Conference, having recognised the urgent need to protect coastal communities, and introduce greener and more sustainable solutions. “An initiative such as this one means a more sustainable food source and livelihood for fishermen and the establishment of potential habitats for wildlife,” the Secretary said.
In preparation for the launch of the initiative this month, communities will be involved in stakeholders’ education on climate change and coastal erosion, and planning strategies for wider social engagement. At present, a team is preparing an inventory on coastal erosion needs ranging from north-east to south-east Tobago.