Take steps to preserve our marine resources

John Aboud - ROGER JACOB
John Aboud - ROGER JACOB

THE EDITOR: I write to express my deep concern about the environmental impact of a possible Marriott-branded resort development on our coastline, reef and surrounding sea water quality in Tobago.

According to John Aboud of Superior Hotels, nothing of importance would be touched, not the coastline, the currents, the reef, the marine habitat, not a stone in the water, not the beach, not the turtles, or the fort.

Although nothing physical will be placed in the water, the consequences of this development are becoming increasingly evident.

Recent studies have shown that coastal developments, even without direct physical alterations in the water, can significantly affect marine ecosystems.

For instance, resort construction often leads to increased run-off containing sediments, nutrients and pollutants. This run-off can degrade water quality, leading to eutrophication, harmful algal blooms, and increased sedimentation on coral reefs.

A notable example can be observed in Hawaii, where resort developments have been linked to increased sedimentation and nutrient run-off. This has resulted in algal blooms that smother coral reefs and decrease water clarity, severely impacting marine biodiversity.

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has faced similar challenges. Research by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has highlighted how sediment and nutrient run-off from coastal developments contribute to the deterioration of this iconic reef system. These pollutants enhance algal growth, which competes with corals for sunlight and space, ultimately leading to coral decline.

It is crucial that we learn from these examples and implement stringent measures to manage and mitigate the impacts of any new developments. Short of using a less sensitive site for a development of this size, effective run-off management, proper setbacks, restoration of natural vegetation buffers, and continuous monitoring of water quality are essential steps.

By taking proactive measures, we can preserve the health of our marine ecosystems while still benefiting from the economic gains of tourism.

We also must not discredit the EMA as it was put in place to make sure that any development of this scale will not impact the local environment. Every person in TT has a basic human right to live in a healthy, safe environment.

I urge the authorities and developers to consider these environmental implications seriously and to adopt sustainable practices that protect our invaluable marine resources.


Rocky Point Foundation


"Take steps to preserve our marine resources"

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