To encourage burgesses to recycle, the San Fernando City Corporation launched an initiative on Friday in collaboration with the Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) and the Rotary Club of San Fernando.
Titled “Be the solution, join the no pollution revolution,” the project was initially carded to be launched in 2020 but was postponed on several occasions owing to covid19.
The project will encourage people to dispose of their plastic bottles, glass bottles, aluminium cans and unwashed tetra packs at special bins around the city.
In its first phase, bins will be placed at WE Supermarket in Cocoyea Village, HDC’s apartment buildings on Cane Street in Vistabella, TATECO Credit Union in San Fernando and Les Efforts West/La Romaine councillor Rishi Balramsingh’s office.
Rotary Club project chairman Nagen Annamunthodo said the initiative was a spin-off on the club’s 2012 recycling competition involving six schools across the city.
Annamunthodo said, “We collectively came together to make San Fernando and environs a cleaner environment and also contribute meaningfully – through this project – to sensitise the burgesses of the value of recycling.
“As responsible citizens and corporate entities, we must play our part in educating citizens and encouraging recycling projects like this one.
He called on the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association to meet environmental stakeholders to discuss ways local manufacturers, especially those in the food and beverage sector, can operate more sustainably and invest in recycling initiatives.
“We are all sitting on the fence while the landfills burn. Our manufacturers are the producers of a multibillion-dollar industry.
“The manufacturers have the responsibility to help solve the global plastic waste crisis, reach sustainability goals, suppress waste and reduce carbon footprints to help sustain the environment for future generations.”
San Fernando deputy mayor Dr Ferri Hosein said the corporation’s Environment Control Division and Public Health Department will be responsible for collecting the recyclables and ensuring they reach Namdevco’s recycling depot in Port of Spain.
“We (the corporation) are of the view that at a local government level, we are a critical driving force in the management of waste that would otherwise find itself into our landfills or as litter in the environment.
“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that our actions at local government are consistent with the strategies of central government which are known to be guided by the (UN’s) sustainable development goals.”
Mayor Junia Regrello anticipates an improvement of waste collection in the city under the new project.
As fewer plastic bottles are indiscriminately dumped, Regrello hopes it will also help alleviate flooding in and around the city.
“We hope to educate all members of the community on benefits derived from waste separation, reduction and recycling.
“Far too often we see the upsurge of plastic bottles and other waste that clog our waterways causing flooding and breeding of mosquitoes that result in vector-borne diseases.”
Bemoaning what he sees as TT’s culture of pointing out issues with little to no suggestions of solutions, SWMCOL CEO Kevin Thompson applauded the corporation for continuing to take the initiative towards sustainable waste management as he noted it wasn’t the first collaboration between SWMCOL and the corporation.
As the project progresses, Thompson hopes burgesses change their perspective on waste as just being discarded items. Instead, he wants them to see it as misplaced resources.
“We have partners working together to become part of the solution and that’s where we need to focus our energy.
“(We have) to encourage the citizens of San Fernando to appropriately dispose of their resources and then we at SWMCOL have taken the responsibility to further ensure that it finds a sustainable home.”