GreenSeas Trust Campaigns: update 2009
Clean, Green and Serene is the new catch phrase of Tobago and rightly so too, when one compares this tiny gem to other islands of the Caribbean, like St Lucia and Antigua. Though both the larger islands have been more exposed to tourism and have dedicated cruise terminals to entice some of the very large vessels that visit, their governments appear to have forgotten the core reason for their islandís attraction, namely pristine beaches and lush greenery.
Indeed, it appears that though money from this profitable enterprise is steadily pouring in, none of it is being spent on attempting to eradicate the unsightly sight of polystyrene boxes, plastic bottles and bags floating along the shore and harbours. Even hard to reach coves and beaches are now littered with rubbish, reducing its desirability as a destination of choice.
Tobago on the other hand appears to have embraced the ideals of GreenSeas Trust. Thanks, in part to the campaign of awareness the charity launched in 2004. “You can never know what the impact of environmental education to children of all ages might have in the long term,” said Fazilette Khan, a trustee of the organisation. “But if cleanliness of the island and beaches in the last 5 years is anything to go by, then the charity has certainly come a long way in achieving its some of its goals.” Tobago’s ministries are playing their part in ensuring the island’s new motto is a true reflection of the island. Roads are cleaned on a weekly basis, permanent bins have been positioned on major beaches and scheduled clean-ups ensure that Tobago remain pristine.
Fazilette Khan who now divides her time being an Environmental Officer for a major cruise line and GreenSeas Trust, says that education is the key to success. “When one appreciates that their livelihood depends in one way or another on the environment, whether it is from fishing, agriculture or tourism, it goes a long way in shining a beam on priorities. No one these days is unaware of the fact that toxic chemicals including those from batteries, car tyres, plastics and petroleum products can leach into the soil or the water and cause severe damage to the ecosystem, but unless it is given constant focus, it tends to get left on the back burner.”
Ms Khan promotes the idea of recycling rather than disposal. “Often people will throw away things because they ‘Can’t be bothered’ to take the time to find a charity or worthy cause willing to accept them. These then end up in landfill with all the consequences that go with it. Recycling now is easier than ever, a few clicks on the internet soon reveal a multitude of willing takers.”
Tobago too is now exploring recycling. Being a small island, the facilities to recycle is restricted by volumes. However, when taken into account with Trinidad, her larger sister island, the possibilities suddenly expand exponentially. The island now has recycling bins for aluminium with other waste streams being explored for the future.