Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It’s Greenpeace to the rescue


Mark Fraser

The oil spill at La Brea, the Point Fortin Highway issue and Beetham Landfill fires, are all environmental concerns that have been swept under the carpet by the authorities. Therefore I welcome Greenpeace for coming to T&T.

Too long we have ignored environmentalists like the late Prof Julian Kenny and Eden Shand who were pioneering the cause in sensitising our citizenry on new buzz words like biodegradable, sustainability and biodiversity. They must be recognised for having the fortitude to educate and bring awareness about the destruction and blatant disregard for our environment by our citizenry; also the impotence of governments to enforce strict penalties on companies that violate and contribute to the destruction of the environment.

The destruction of our ecological system, the pollution caused by our petrochemical industries and landfills, even in our own personal contribution in the damage of our carbon footprint that has see  on our landscape cluttered with ubiquitous plastic bottles that clog drains and find themselves in our rivers and seas.

Yet ironically there is the Environmental Management Act that supposedly sets the guidelines. The policy also takes into account the relationship between environmental sustainability and human health. Yet there is no haste to deal with the legitimate health concerns with the people of La Brea or for that matter the mixture of VOCs and toxic and noxious air that emanate from the Beetham landfill on a daily basis.

The Highway Re-route Movement and its leader must be commended just for the fact that they have brought into the consciousness and conversation environmental issues and challenged the Government into realising that they have a responsibility to ensure that our “green world” is not neglected or diminished at the expense of development. If the MP for the area is not being taken seriously or if any of our NGOs are ignored then it is great for an international observer to put pressure. 

I believe that Greenpeace surely is the vehicle which can bring international pressure on our Government by defending T&T’s natural world by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, and championing environmentally responsible solutions.

T&T must be on board in sustainable development, protecting our natural ecosystems, enforcing laws to curb noise and air pollution, moving landfills from urban areas, building on sustainable sites, creainge parks and recreational open spaces to encourage healthier living. Sustainability becomes important in making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials and resources to protect human health and our environment. 

Salaah Inniss