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Moonilal: Laws soon to boost plastic recycling
A Beverage Container Bill soon will be debated in Parliament as Government moves to make citizens more environmentally-conscious and responsible, says Minister of Housing and the Environment Roodal Moonilal. The legislation will be the first of its kind in T&T and will impose a deposit refund mechanism for the collection and recycling of plastic beverage containers.
Moonilal said he expected no opposition to the legislation and was confident it would be passed. He added: “This is yet another piece of legislation which has been in the works for over two decades. This legislation will be critical to improving our quality of life as citizens of our twin-island state.”
The minister was speaking at the Green Leaf Awards ceremony at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday evening. The event also commemorated World Environment Day. This year’s theme is The Green Economy: Does It Include You? The green economy is focused on an alternative and more sustainable way of conducting business.
“As T&T celebrates 50 years of independence this year, this is probably one of the most applicable themes for us as a nation,” said Moonilal. He added that as a petroleum-based economy there was a need to increase T&T’s level of environmental diligence. Today’s customers, he said, now demanded environmental accountability.
He added: “The green economy is much more than planting a tree. When we re-forest or promote sustainability, we are protecting not only our quality of life but our future. We are also creating real business opportunities.” Moonilal said over the past two years, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), had succeeded in bringing pertinent environmental issues to the fore.
He said the EMA, which he praised for finding innovative ways to communicate various aspects of conservation and sustainability, had six major initiatives. He said they included:
• The Noise Campaign 2011/2012 to educate the public of the EMA’s role in addressing noise pollution under the tagline, Music is our Culture, Noise is Not;
• the Green Business Forum Magazine, highlighting the proceedings of the EMA’s Green Business Forum in March; and
• promotion of the EMA's Environmentally Sensitive Areas, by the production and broadcasting of the EMA's Nariva Swamp and the Aripo Savannas documentaries.
Moonilal said the EMA also had succeeded in implementing environmental policies during the People Partnership Government’s two-year tenure. In March, Moonilal signed the ministerial order to place quarries of all sizes under the jurisdiction of the EMA. He said the ministry also had instituted and formalised the mandate for two committees — the Advisory Committee for a National Building Code and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Committee.
Also at the awards ceremony were EMA chairman, Kelvin Ramnath, and EMA chief executive officer, Dr Joth Singh, who both underscored the importance of the organisation in bringing positive changes to the environment. The late Professor Julien Kenny was hailed for his contributions and dedication to protection of the environment and was given the EMA’s first Lifetime Achievement Award which was collected by his grandson, Daniel Talma. Kenny, an environmentalist and former chairman of the EMA, died last August.
• Turtle Village Trust — communicating on the environment Sundew — Tour Guiding Services — community-based organisation; and
• Eco-Impact — corporate/business — RBC, Royal Bank (T&T) Limited — corporate social responsibility —
Asa Wright Nature Centre — eco-tourism;
Fondes Amandes Community’s re-forestation project — Nature Seekers — non-governmental organisation.
Green Leaf awards:
• Turtle Village Trust — communicating on the environment — Sundew Tour Guiding Services — community-based organisation;
• Eco-Impact — corporate/business — RBC, Royal Bank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited — corporate social responsibility; and
• Asa Wright Nature Centre — eco-tourism.
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