This country produces around 7500 pounds of waste from Carnival, this according to Chairman of the National Carnival Development Foundation Mahindra Satram-Maharaj. He said 52 different materials, used to create mas costumes, are poisonous for the environment.
He was speaking during a question and answer segment after a presentation by Carnicycle at a “Making Carnival Sustainable” presentation on Friday afternoon. The event was hosted by the TT Coalition of Services Industries. He said these figures were given to the foundation by SWMCOL in 2015.
Head delegation of the European Union to TT, Aad Biesebroek, said pollution is a major problem for TT. “The way we currently live is not the way we sustain. Making climate neutral and protecting the environment will be good for our people.”
He said promoting use of energy efficiency is important. “We need to address environmental problems…we need to try to make better use of the products that have been manufactured and reuse the materials that have been utilized in those products over and over again.”
“It’s important to make progress as a small island state..coastal erosion is a problem, Styrofoam is still widely utilized as well as single use plastics. Recycling plastic bottles hardly takes place so many things end up in the street, oceans and drains and causes problems.”
“Something needs to be done but I think there are opportunities here as well. “ He said the use of environmentally safe and sustainable materials will cause less damage to the environment.
Carnicycle was founded by Luke Harris and Danielle Mc Letchie. The team collects used and unwanted Carnival costumes from masqueraders after Carnival. The feather backpacks are sanitised and the gems are donated to artists, costume designers and the bras are sent to women shelters.
They have partnered with 15 organisations locally and regionally to act as a drop off point and to encourage their employees to donate unwanted mass costumes. Harris said the team is trying to create a “circular economy” starting with Carnival mass.
A representative from Tribe said they are pleased to be a part of the Carnicycle. She said the band is a collection point to recycle costumes and they also allow Caricycle access to their masqueraders and database. One band leader recommended that masqueraders be given a rebate for returning their costumes. He raised concerned of the cost to design, build and sell mass, only for the band leader to ask for them to be donated for parts to be resold.