Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2017 Contents news A9
Saturday, March 25, 2017 guardian.co.tt
SWMCOL welcomes plan for waste recycling system as...
THA passes motion to phase out polystyrene
With more than 700,000 tonnes
of waste being dumped annually at
the country's three main landfills,
Solid Waste Management Compa-
ny Ltd (SWMCOL) yesterday wel-
comed Planning Minister Camille
Robinson-Regis' move to establish
a waste recycling system.
On Thursday, Robinson-Regis also
stated that Government was consider-
ing banning styrofoam, but this matter
was yet to go before Cabinet.
The move was praised by SWMCOL's
CEO Ronald Roach, stating this his or-
ganisation was up to the challenge.
However, within hours of Government
announcing this plan, the Tobago House
of Assembly(THA)announced that a mo-
tion was passed to phase out polystyrene
foam products on the island.
Pupils of Arima Girls
RC purchase fruit
during an expo hosted
by UWI's Faculty of
Food and Agriculture
in St Augustine,
The motion was moved by Infrastructure Secretary
Kwesi Des Vignes to phase out the importation, pro-
duction and use of polystyrene foams products in a bid
to save Tobago's environment, a press release issued
yesterday by the THA stated.
Des Vignes said styrofoam, a non-biodegradable and
non renewable product, contribute primarily to urban
which threaten marine and wild life and ultimately
the health of humans.
In the first instance, Des Vignes said caterers and
suppliers to the Assembly and at Assembly events are
to use alternative packaging, many of which are already
on the market.
"This motion would give us the opportunity to explore
new areas in manufacturing and exporting...there is big
business in alternative products for Tobagonians," Des
Roach said the first step in implementing the recycling
programme was to meet all stakeholders involved.
"Right now Nidpec is looking at the contracts for the
collection of waste."
In three months' time, Roach said, a public awareness
campaign will be rolled out.
"Every household needs to get involved in recycling
just as it done in Canada and Europe."
He envisage this would be a difficult task for SWMCOL.
Working with the Environmental Management Au-
thority (EMA), Roach said SWMCOL has a recycling
plant in Port-of-Spain and
a material recovery facility in Guanapo.
"It's just a question of expanding on those things since
it is done on a small scale. The first thing that can be
done is have a national system where people can in the
first instance can drop off their recyclables, followed by
a collection and procession systems."
Roach said upwards of 700,000 tonnes of waste
are dumped at the Guanapo, Beetham and Forres Park
"As an island state we generate a lot of waste. When
you look at our per capita waste generation it is signifi-
cant...it is as high as the most developed countries of the
world. We do need to look at how we minimise our waste.
He said at least 70 per cent of our garbage can be
"From a per capita point of view we generate about
1.4 kilograms of waste per person and there are other
countries that generate maybe about .5 kilograms per
Roach admitted that Trinidadians do not think about
the consequences of waste production.
"Waste disposal is free in this country...we are not even
mindful of how much waste we generate."
Roach believes there should be incentives for people
who recycle and penalties for those who don't.
Asked if this was a measure SWMCOL was planning
to introduce, Roach said it was too early for that, but at
some point they would need to go that route.
Roach said while businesses in many parts of the world
are charged a waste disposal fee, this service is offered
free to T&T's business community.
" When the disposal of waste is free then there is no
incentive at all to recycle,"Roach said.
Meanwhile, managing director of the EMA Hayden
Romano feels that T&T should undertake a new study
with regards to our waste.
He said while Government is considering banning
styrofoam, Romano said this was one area that needed
to be looked at.
"Remember we have companies producing styro-
foam and therefore in these economic times we want
to ensure that there are alternatives. We want to achieve
a balance between the environmental concern and the
socio economic concerns."
Romano said recycling of plastics will require a cul-
ture change on all citizens who would have to do things
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