Battling the plastic scourge: 2,000 bags collected in La Brea

Date: August 5th, 2019

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) conducted a massive Beach clean-up in Point Sable Beach, La Brea on Saturday 3rd August 2019. FFOS thank the six (6) corporate sponsors for their Leadership- Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU), Atlantic LNG, The ICARE Recyclable Solid Waste Collection Project, The Shipbuilding and Repair Development Company (SRDC), Peterson Energy Logistics and Zion Maintenance and Cleaning South Team as well as NGO’s such as Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), React Team 6009, Sahara’s Caribbean Adventures, South Bikers Association, and concerned residents for their public spiritedness. We are pleased to report that a total approximate two thousand (2,000) jumbo bags of plastic and Styrofoam were collected and forwarded to Flying Tree Environmental Management who are now recycling the collected material and constructing benches for the La Brea Community.

The team was successful in cleaning approximately one third the length of the 3km beach within the allotted time for low tide (10am-3pm). We plan on visiting the beach at a later date to clean the remaining portion. One of the purposes of this beach clean-up was to highlight the importance of this pristine area, underscoring its recreational use and biodiversity importance, while uplifting and empowering the La Brea community. This area has over 498 hectares of mangrove forests, the 3rd largest in the country, and is a recognized nesting site for the recently legally designated Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS), our National bird, the Scarlet Ibis. Saturday’s activities highlighted our unsustainable Styrofoam and plastic addiction and the fact that for almost 30 years, our Governments have failed to pass the Beverage Container Bill.

Today we know more of the degradation that plastics cause to our ecosystems and the public dangers to human health and yet our leaders continue to turn a blind and uncaring eye. Why? The Beverage Container Bill was first drafted in 1992 (to regulate the waste created by the beverage industry). Despite being resurrected 3 times (1999, 2008, 2012), it has not been made Law. While countless progressive nations worldwide have since adopted its essence with beverage recycling incentives and legislation, facilities and recycling subsidies, we have been literally left behind. An ambitious Nation which cannot manage its own wastes creates a path of embarrassment, indignity and shame in the wake of its achievements. We ask our Prime Minister, what are you waiting for?

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