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Caribbean Environmental Wins

MARC DE VERTEUIL_3There is still hope for us. Let’s have a look at positive environmental developments from the Caribbean.

Antigua & Barbuda:

A plastic bag importation ban went in to effect on January 1, 2016. Plastic bags will not disappear from Antigua immediately. Shopkeepers are given until mid 2016 to adapt to doing business with alternatives, like reusable bags.

This is a step forward for Antigua. It will reduce litter and lessen the amount of plastic that gets dumped into landfills. Plastic bags are made from hydrocarbons. As a Small Island Developing State vulnerable to climate change, it also helps Antigua reduce its carbon footprint.

Worldwide, plastic bags are responsible for the deaths of 100,000 sea turtles and other marine mammals that mistake them for food. Plastic bags do not biodegrade. While some bacteria and fungi have been found to digest plastic, it is safe to say that every bit of plastic ever produced is still around. Some of it has entered the food chain.

Guyana:

As part of Guyana’s thrust to promote a green economy and environment Styrofoam was banned on January 1, 2016.

Styrofoam shares a lot of the negatives associated with plastic bags. In Guyana it is blamed for causing flooding when styrofoam clogs drains.

Styrofoam is a recycling nightmare. Because it is only 3 per cent recyclable material and 97 per cent air, it has very little value to the recycling industry.

There are concerns about the toxic effect of styrene, a chemical in styrofoam. Some reports have found it to be a possible carcinogen, other reports, however, found no link.

Distributors in Guyana have already started offering bagasse-based food containers to restaurants. Bagasse is a byproduct of the sugar industry and it is fully biodegradable.

Dominica:

Maybe this does not belong here, so far it is only intent. Dominica’s Prime Minister Skerrit has spoken about a night court to deal with litterers. He has also expressed the desire to ban styrofoam from The Nature Isle.

Jamaica: In 2016 the island plans to become the No 1 producer of renewable energy in the Caribbean. Faced with electricity costs that are 1,000 per cent higher than T&T’s residential rate, or 400 per cent that of the United States, Jamaica is investing in a brighter future by devoting nearly US$200 million to solar and wind power.

The power grid will be supplied by an additional 78 megawatts of wind and solar energy.

Comparative cost assessments make it clear that, by 2030, Jamaica can save up to US$12.5 billion by converting to renewable electricity sources.

For comparison sake: this is more than the 64 megawatts of The Cove Power Station in Tobago, that uses natural gas that could have been exported.

The National Energy Policy sets a goal for 20 per cent of electricity to be from renewable sources by 2030. Jamaica looks set to surpass this goal. The government is now contemplating raising the policy goal to 30 per cent.

“1.5 to stay alive”: This is the slogan promoted by Caribbean and Pacific climate negotiators at the COP21 climate talks in Paris. The COP21 results were a disaster but for the first time small island states were able to make their voice heard. The COP21 made a non-binding agreement to strive for a 1.5C temperature rise, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Montserrat, Barbuda

and Curaçao:

The Blue Halo initiative from the Waitt Institute seeks to empower communities to restore their oceans to full productivity. The idea is to engage local communities with technical experts to implement ocean conservation while facilitating a sustainable fishery.

Bonaire and Saba: These Dutch Caribbean islands announced the world’s 11th and 12th shark sanctuaries. Worldwide 100 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries. Nearly 30 per cent of all known shark species assessed by scientists are threatened with extinction. Sharks are apex predators that keep their eco-systems in balance.

Trinidad:

The Environmental Management Authority became serious about protecting marine turtles from people who drive vehicles on beaches.

The EMA threatened to use the EMA Act and fine anybody caught driving on any turtle-nesting beach, like Las Cuevas, $100,000. The EMA Act also calls for a two years imprisonment for harming marine turtles. Marine turtles were declared an Environmentally Sensitive Species.

Las Cuevas beach was plagued by off-roaders who would take their vehicles onto the turtle nesting beach.

The community-based Las Cuevas Eco Friendly Association now patrols the beach and makes reports of any wrongdoing to the EMA and the local police.

Source:  https://www.guardian.co.tt/columnist/2016-01-04/caribbean-environmental-wins



Category/ies:Antigua & Barbuda Articles, Articles, Dominica Articles, Guyana Articles, Jamaica Articles, Montserrat Articles, Regional Articles, Renewable Energy.
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