Trinidad and Tobago and two of its regional counterparts, this week joined the battle against marine plastic pollution.
At the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya T&T, Paraguay and Antigua and Barbuda, signed up for the Clean Seas campaign.
It was ratified during the Fourth UN Environment Assembly where more than 4,700 delegates from 170 countries were meeting to hammer out new guidelines to lessen the speed of the planet’s depleted resources.
Launched in 2017, the Clean Seas campaign works with governments, businesses and citizens to eliminate the needless use of disposable plastics and protect the oceans and rivers from a toxic tide of pollution that is endangering livelihoods and killing wildlife.
The alliance now covers more than 60 per cent of the world’s coastlines.
Here in T&T, the Government’s focus is on reinforcing its existing waste management system.
It also aims, through the Solid Waste Management Company Ltd. (SWMCOL), to raise awareness and educate the local population about the need to separate household waste.
Environmental activist and Corporate Secretary of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, Gary Aboud praised the Government for signing on to the initiative.
However he told News Power Now that while the move is welcomed, he believes more could be done.
Antigua and Barbuda banned single-use plastic bags in 2016, becoming the first country in the region to do so.
The island nation is now working to eliminate polystyrene products, which it hopes to achieve over the coming year.
It is also looking to expand its recycling capacity and extend a scheme for collecting and recycling plastic bottles.
Landlocked Paraguay has committed to clean its polluted rivers, starting in the capital Asuncion.
According to UN Environment, every year around eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, poisoning fish, birds and other sea creatures.
That’s the equivalent of one garbage truck of litter being dumped into the sea every minute. Plastic waste, in the form of microplastics, has also entered the human food chain, and the consequences are not yet fully understood.