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T&T gets help tackling environmental pollutants

Trinidad Express / THE Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has received further financial support to address the issue of environmental pollution and its effects through successful access to a shared regional grant of US$8.8 million. This grant, provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is for a regional project entitled ‘Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Mechanism for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Caribbean’ and Trinidad and Tobago is one of eight selected Caribbean countries which include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Suriname, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia. Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development, expresses the view that participation in this regional project will enable Trinidad and Tobago to develop mechanisms for the environmentally sound management of persistent organic pollutants, thereby reducing and eliminating the threat they currently pose to the lives of our citizens. Trinidad and Tobago will benefit from this project via: • The enabling mechanisms for the effective implementation of the Stockholm Convention on POPs. Trinidad and Tobago acceded to the Stockholm Convention on POPs on December 15, 2002, • The assessment of contaminated sites to determine the level of contaminants present, and • Impact monitoring and evaluation of the activities conducted to manage those sites. Trinidad and Tobago will also benefit through the establishment and implementation of direct interventions nationally, some of which include the remediation of the Guanapo Landfill site, which has been identified as a contaminated site in need or urgent remediation. This is a collaborative project with the Ministry of Planning and Development involving The University of the West Indies (UWI), the Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Ltd (SWMCOL), the Ministry of Public Utilities through the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA). Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are highly stable compounds that persist for years and sometimes decades before breaking down; they are excessively toxic causing an array of adverse effects, notably various physiological diseases and birth defects among both humans and animals, also causing death. Expansion of the country’s industrial, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors over the last 30 years has resulted in the increased use of a number of pesticides and industrial chemicals, which are all considered POPs. Many of the chemicals used for industry also imported into the country also contain POPs which contain environmental and human health risks. Other actions undertaken by the Ministry of Planning and Development to improve our environmental health include: Conducting training workshops for stakeholders for the formulation and implementation of a Measurement/Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) System and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and as part of the Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Programme, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The LECB project is aimed at developing requisite capacity to reduce and manage greenhouse gas emissions from various sectors in Trinidad and Tobago. These sessions are taking place from November 17 to 30. As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Trinidad and Tobago is committed to reducing its national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), submitted to the United Nations as its commitment under the Paris Agreement, as well as aimed at developing sustainable capacity as part of ongoing climate change-related initiatives. Governmental representatives from Trinidad and Tobago also participated as an observer in the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change held from November 7-18 in Marrakech, Morocco.

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