Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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T&T’s biodiversity under serious threat
Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj’s claim that people are “eating out everything in this country that breathes and walks” is by no means a trivial comment. It refers to a range of practices which, if allowed to continue, will destroy T&T’s biodiversity and erode the quality of life in many ways, some unexpected and unpredictable.
Speaking on the final day of the budget debate in the Senate on Wednesday, the minister said conch and cascadoo are now under threat and crayfish, once found in abundance in streams and rivers, have virtually disappeared. Maharaj’s comments, made just days after a ban on hunting was instituted, underscores the urgent need to safeguard T&T’s biodiversity, which is threatened by several illegal and irresponsible practices that have been allowed to take place for far too long.
Illegal hunting and quarrying; clearing of mountains for housing; slash-and-burn farming and overfishing have destroyed natural wildlife habitats and contributed to environmental degradation in many parts of the country. When he announced a two-year moratorium on hunting to take effect from October 1, Environment and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh revealed just how serious the situation is with the country’s wildlife.
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