Green Expo paves way for cleaner T&T
The City of San Fernando has organised Green Expo 2011, running from today to May 15. It is designed for businesses, NGOs and state agencies to showcase their environmentally-safe and sustainable products and programmes with a fun learning experience for children. Our guest columnist is deputy mayor of San Fernando and councillor in the San Fernando City Corporation Dr NAVI MURADALI who tell us more.
My road to a “Green” Trinidad and Tobago began back in 2006 during conversations with various stakeholders while putting together the 2007 general election manifesto for the Congress of the People (COP). Based on discussions with many environmental groups, including my active participation in the anti-smelter campaign, it was obvious that Trinidad and Tobago needed a New Green Deal; a developmental plan for our nation without our historic dependence on oil and gas. The “Green Manifesto” was on Ozone-Day, September 16, 2007, at the Lion’s Civic Centre. However, such a new strategic course for our country would not come cheap or without its many challenges.
More recently, I was inspired by former US vice-president Al Gore who, as a guest of the TTMA at NAPA last year urged Government to “do the right thing” to prevent Global Warming and Climate Change.
The Green Manifesto presented some key offerings including a move towards renewable energy, energy efficiency and greener buildings, stricter pollution enforcement, and recycling. With these new pillars of development, we could become pioneers in the creation of green jobs. It was estimated that as many as 50,000 new Green jobs could be created if we were to enact our New Green Deal. So it was without doubt, that once in the corridors of authority, the ideas of the Green Manifesto would become realised.
In the 2010/11 budget, Finance Minister Winston Dookeran initiated bold steps to provide solar incentives, more cost-effective CNG cars, and stiffer penalties for littering, while Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan has been advocating renewable energy options including the manufacture of solar cells and panels locally.
As councillor and deputy mayor in San Fernando, some projects we have undertaken included:
• creation of Green parks in various locations in the Les Efforts East/Cipero area outfitted with recycling bins;
• the installation of a solar-powered light in the Turton Street Play Park;
• the resumption of the Litter Warden program to ensure enforcement of the amended Litter Act;
• periodic clean-up campaigns and stiffer penalties for owners of overgrown vacant lots;
• campaign for more bins, especially recycling bins, across the City of San Fernando; and
• a Pilot project on glass and plastic waste separation with a local group, the Waste Reduction
Environmental Network (WREN) in collaboration with the Green Fund. To achieve the ideal of a Green nation, we knew we needed to step up our efforts. Thus the San Fernando Green Expo was born, as a means of showcasing where our nation has reached in its quest for a country that may not have oil and gas one day, which, as the experts have pointed out, may be sooner rather than later. The San Fernando or San City Green Expo will hopefully be attended by every single Trinidadian and Tobagonian with a desire for an eco-friendly nation, and as such present those who wish to “go Green’ with many alternatives.
From numerous solar products, recycling bins, and household appliances, to health and wellness stations, and greener cars, the Expo will present school children with an opportunity to conserve and protect the environment. Not only will children be entertained by the Kids Zone and Animal Zone of the expo, but they will learn environmental science through a unique blend of teachings from Iggy the Iguana, the Green Expo mascot, and hands-on activities by various exhibitors. Additionally, the Expo presents a Cultural Zone with a unique blend of science and carnival.
The Green Expo will be followed with a constant series of Green programmes, especially among the youth, to ensure that the messages of reuse, reduce, and recycling, become not just buzzwords but a way of life. My hope is that as a result of the Green Expo, we can move a further step on the road to becoming a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable nation so that we all become agents of change in reducing our carbon footprint.” Let’s go green together.”
The SanCity Green Expo 2011 starts today, and runs through to May 15.