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Recycling thrust should be part of our culture

Published: 
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
President advocates change of mindset
Members of the Naparima Girls’ High School’s Eco-Activist Club who were named winners of the Environment Management Authority’s Secondary Schools’ Green Leaf Awards take a selfie following yesterday’s ceremony at South Academy for Performing Arts in San Fernando. In photo from left, are Zoe Webb, Sesha Dookeran, Sashi Dookeran, Naomi Lochan, Malha Ramnarine Misir and Amy Moonan PICTURE RISHI RAGOONATH

As she advocated for a change of mindset when using and disposing of the plastic waste that often finds itself clogging watercourses, President Paula-Mae Weekes said that citizens take too many things for granted.

Addressing students and attendees at the Environmental Management Authorities’ (EMA) Green Leaf Award at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts yesterday, Weekes said that while leaders must ensure that there is environmental awareness in all sectors of society, it was not just for the business community where manufacturing has an impact on climate change. The responsibility to guard against pollution was for all.

“Here in Trinidad and Tobago, we take so many things for granted. The air that we breathe, the water that we use for our everyday needs, the heat of the sun, pleasantly cool evenings and a particular pleasure for me, the welcome rains after the dry season as they instantly transform our arid landscape into many shades of green. These are but few of the elements that make up our physical environment that we share in Trinidad and Tobago. Many of us are so hurried with our day to day activities that we do not take the time to look around and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings,” Weekes said.

She said that the development of a country is not to be measured only in economic terms, such as foreign exchange earning, average income, employment rate or tertiary level graduates, but by the quality of life. The environment, she said, has a direct bearing on that quality.

“Who can doubt the positive effect of a pristine environment on the human psyche. Within recent times, we have been hearing much about the deleterious effects of plastic on our ecosystem so the theme of World Environment Day 2018, Beat Plastic Pollution, is on point.”

Weekes said that beating plastic pollution was not solely about washing plastic containers or disposing of them in recycling bins, but also to understand waste as a resource. She said the reuse and recycle thrust should become part of our culture.

She lauded the EMA’s iCARE project and investment in youth, which is aimed at establishing a recycling culture in T&T, calling it visionary.

She also congratulated the students of the schools that participated, telling them that while some were awarded prizes, they were all winners. She then gave them a mission to inspire other children, their parents, friends or other adults into being environmentally conscious.

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