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EMA to be more effective
The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is getting “more teeth,” according to Minister in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources Ramona Ramdial. She said the agency has been finding new and innovative ways to “communicate various aspects of conservation and substantiality.”
In the feature address at the Second T&T Youth Forum on Climate Change, at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, Ramdial underscored the EMA’s role to enforce environmental legislation, educate the public and raise awareness. The minister praised young people for ensuring that the country cultivates a culture of value for our flora and fauna.
“It is no secret that like many countries in the world T&T is influenced by global developments and trends. Every day, millions of people on the planet discuss ways to improve conservation of the earth’s natural resources and green is the buzz word in all aspects of business. In essence, the green agenda is something that has been propagated by our youth,” she said.
Commenting on the recent furore over the destruction of a turtle-nesting site at Grande Riviere beach, Ramdial said, “While it put our ministry in the spotlight and put T&T in the international arena and cast it in a negative light, what it did highlight was the passion and care the youth in T&T have for flora and fauna here.”
Attending yesterday’s session were Linda Hutchinson Jafar, editor, Earth Conscious Magazine; Dr Charmaine Gomes, co-ordinator, Sustainable Development Unit at the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean; Kyle De Lima, activist, Trini Eco-Warriors; and Amanda Laurence, national information officer, United Nations Information Centre. Gomes told the gathering, “We can adapt and mitigate. Countries have to be committed to reducing gas emissions. We all have a responsibility to the environment.”
She also said they were looking at Brazil to assist in conservation and sharing of knowledge and skills. De Lima spoke about his passion for photography and the environment. He showed footage of the Guanapo Dump and complained that the Guanapo River was “black like soy sauce.”
His major areas of concern included ocean acidification, industrial discharge and waste management in T&T and he urged teachers and young people to volunteer to keep a “green scene.” The opening session of the forum was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Laurence.
The panellists were Joshua Hamlet, Ryan Jobson, Mikhail Gibbings, Trishana Sirju, Rheanna Chen and Karlene Flemming. Chief among their suggestions for sustainable development was taking responsibility and taking the initiative in effecting change by lobbying governments, policymakers and environmentalists.
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