ENVIRONMENT Secretary Kwesi DesVignes is imploring citizens to think about the future and the next generation.
DesVignes' plea came as his Division announced it will be planting 2, 500 native trees along the island’s North Eastern coast from Roxborough to Castara in commemoration of World Environment last Wednesday.
As part of the theme “Breathe life! Clean Air for Children’s Sake!” DesVignes spoke of the challenges that will develop for the future generation if we are unable to avoid pollution and fail to act responsibly.
“If for nothing else and no one else, breathing clean air should be a right for our children, our future,” he said.
“Global data suggests that 92 per cent of people worldwide do not breathe clean air. Additionally, staple crop yields are projected to reduce by 26 per cent by 2030 due to ground-level ozone pollution. But all is not lost! As responsible global citizens we should all respond to the call for positive environmental action.”
DesVignes said World Environment Day provides the opportunity for individuals, communities and businesses to share and act responsibly and preserve and enhance the environment.
"It’s beyond a call for beauty…It’s about our survival. The Tobago House of Assembly joins in solidarity with the rest of the world in marking World Environment Day 2019.”
The THA said it will focus on air pollution and improving its quality as part of its celebration for World Environment day 2019.
The department of Environment has been playing its part in protecting the environment though the launch of an Air Quality Control Monitoring project back in 2017. This project is geared towards determining the risk of increasing vehicle traffic on the quality of air in the urban area. To-date, he said the results of the project have been positive. He said the trees will aid in absorbing hazardous nitric acids and particulate matter from the atmosphere.
“This powerful act is one of the reasons for the great focus placed on enhancing the institutional arrangements for improved management of our prestigious Main Ridge Forest Reserve. What will you do to improve your air quality? Later this week, the department of the environment will launch its ‘Greenfoot’ – the Green Commute Challenge geared at encouraging Assembly staff to explore and employ green commute journey to work options, thereby lowering Tobago’s carbon footprint. I urge you to join in this approach. As is customary, we in Tobago will ‘Go Beyond’ the week’s activity, as we strive to overtake the successes in the war against environmental threats."
DesVignes said the island has already adopted quite a number of projects including Recyclemania – plastic challenge returns, while the Clean School recycling initiative has been sustained for a number of years.
"What’s more, we’re preparing to launch #trashtag frenzy – the friends and ‘famalay’ community cleaning affair.”
He reminded Tobagonians that reducing air pollution is equally the responsibility of citizens as it is the THA.