Hayes Court, Port of Spain was turned into a sea of plastic as bags filled with bottles streamed onto the compound to be weighed yesterday. The weighing activity marked the official end of a nationwide schools' recycling competition organised by the Anglican diocese.
Responsible for developing the church's initiative was environmental geologist Alicia Barrie, who said, "In the church's youth ministry there are five marks of mission with one being care for the environment." Working with the diocese under the direction of Anglican youth director Sharon Lamy, Barrie said the competition was completed by 27 Anglican schools in Trinidad.
The competition's focus was to challenge schools to collect as many plastic bottles as they could have for recycling. Speaking on why schools were given that specific challenge, she said, "We are just trying to keep instilling the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing plastics."
She noted that this is an especially important value to foster in society given the large volume of plastic bottles that were visible in drains and rivers in the aftermath of tropical storm Karen. "It's about caring for what we see in our environment."
Hayes Court was the main weighing point for schools in the Port of Spain region but other schools tallied their collected plastic at four other points including the churches – St Mary's, Tacarigua, St Stephens Princes Town, St Christopher's and St Paul's, San Fernando.
As she awaited the arrival of plastic bottles collected from schools in Port of Spain, Barrie said, "We are looking forward to seeing how much plastics the schools will bring." As for the steps that will follow after the plastic bottles have been collected and the winner is announced, she said, "We are working in tandem with the EMA who would then take the plastics and then they would recycle it."
The winner of this year's competition will take home the Bishop Bess Challenge Trophy and $1,000. Schools placing second and third will walk away with hampers sponsored by sponsors including, Kiss, Nestle, Bermudez and Holiday Snacks.
With the noticeable absence of Tobago schools in the competition, Barrie said last year's edition which challenged schools to make products out of plastics was held exclusively in Tobago. That competition was won by St Patrick's Anglican school.
The winner of this year's competition will be announced on the social media accounts of the Anglican diocese in the next several weeks. As the results are being tallied, Barrie's message to the public is simply, "Please recycle and keep caring for the environment."