IAN KEVIN RAMDHANIE
Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety
Government is moving apace to introduce clean technology in the country’s public transport system as part of a critical first step in reducing dangerous emissions on the nation’s roads, Ramona Ramdial, Minister of State in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources announced recently. Delivering the feature address at the Environmental Management Agency’s Green Leaf Awards Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, she said mitigating climate change required a concerted public education and awareness drive.
“T&T has also begun work on the development of its carbon reduction strategy. This project is currently ongoing and seeks to develop the most feasible mitigation options for each of the three main emitting sectors; power generation, industry and transport.
“This project is anticipated to be completed in September 2015. For these three sectors the recently completed April 2013 second National Communication to the United Nations Climate Change Convention has indicated a sizable increase in emissions between 1990 to 2005. If we were to focus on the transport sector, emissions have doubled from 1990 to 2005, which was directly linked to the number of vehicles on the road, which increased by almost 100 per cent over the same period,” Ramdial said.
“This ministry is taking proactive steps to address the increase in emissions from transport by the procurement of clean public transport technology for this sector which can be replicated in the future. This is being done in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport which is currently undertaking an initiative to modernise its fleet to utilise compressed natural gas (CNG).
“In addition, as part of ensuring that our major road artery is green, the ministry, through the EMA, will be converting all traffic and street lights on the Priority Bus Route to solar technology.” Ramdial said regulatory, institutional and policy frameworks had to be both modernised and strengthened. In implementing these directives, she said, several initiatives have been undertaken and were on-going.
The minister said the mainstreaming of climate change into national development and Feasibility of Carbon Capture and Storage was one project that sought to examine existing legislation and policy. “In seeking to address climate change and also the broader environment agenda, the ministry was also initiating the 2011 approved Green Government Policy, which provides recommendations to all government ministries and agencies on ‘greening’ their everyday operations.
“The policy encourages the use of measures and practices that promote energy efficiency, wise use of resources and pollution prevention, ultimately minimising the adverse effects of Government operations on the environment.”
Ramdial added: “Implementation of the policy at government offices will enhance cost effectiveness of our operations by reducing energy use, waste and consumables. It would also provide further support to the National Environmental Policy (2005). The Green Government Policy is being implemented at the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources as a pilot before roll out to other ministries and agencies.”