Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 3rd 2013 Contents A17
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Continues on page A18
Community Action --- Global Impact, the tagline
of the GEF SGP at UNDP, comes to life in the school-
yard of Newtown Boys RC School, Port-of-Spain.
What have some plant-boxes in a concrete urban
environment to do with an issue of global proportions
to human mankind?
Kelum, one of the pupils, is eager to explain that
the plants in his boxes grow without chemical fertilisers,
just with the nutrients in the soil and water from the
tilapia fish tank that stands in the corner of the school-
yard and he even does not have to spray them "once
you take out the weeds and insects that eat my plants
nothing will happen to them."
The (mis-) use of synthetically produced fertilisers
and pesticides is of such significant impact globally
that the GEF SGP UNDP has declared it (together
with other toxic chemicals) as one of its six focal areas.
In T&T we see the effects on our near shore reefs
in Tobago, where once colourful corals are now over-
grown by algae that have taken advantage of the nutri-
Chemicals, including pesticides, are of even more
concern. In 2012, the new UNEP (UN Environment
Programme) Global Chemicals Outlook brought dev-
astating news on the death and sickness caused by
imports of harmful chemicals and pesticides to devel-
Over 960,000 people have died and some
20,000,000 people have suffered some form of sickness
or injury from pesticides and chemicals, mostly in
Understanding these issues and knowing that sus-
tainable change often starts with the children, Denyse
Granger-Smart, principal of Newtown Boys , and Dale
Rambaran, agricultural teacher, decided to take action.
They expanded their existing collaboration with
Trinidad Systems Ltd and with the help of Jason Pantin
(TSL HSEQ representative) and Nicole Galt approached
the GEF SGP UNDP office in Trinidad with a proposal
to implement a schoolyard demonstration project to
teach the young students to think about the environ-
mental consequences in their everyday decision-mak-
ing.A visit to the school shows that the undertaking
was a success. Boys between five and 13 are buzzing
along the self-watering, wall-mounted plant boxes
containing leaf, root and fruit crops.
The younger ones learn to plant, while the older
ones prepare the potting soil, weed and water. Each
level has different responsibilities.
The kids are driven and some bring their parents
along on the weekends to care for the plants.
Some of these mini-role models went a step further
and have started a small kitchen garden at home to
teach their parents.
The entire project is integrated into the subjects:
Measuring and experimenting with soil mixes in science
class; the shapes of leaves and fruits in art classes;
unscramble plant names and discover new words in
herbs in English lessons.
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