E T Newletter March 2009


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Environment Tobago Newsletter March 2009

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E T Newletter March 2009

  1. 1. Environment TO BAGO new slett er E Volume 3 Issue 1 March 2009 nvironment TO- BAGO (ET) is a non-government, non-profit, Environment Tobago and Methanex- A Responsible Care Company volunteer organisation , not subsidized by any one group, Hosts Keep A Clean School Prizegiving Ceremony corporation or government body. Environment TOBAGO Founded in 1995, ET is a proactive, advocacy group On February 5th 2009, Environment Tobago hosted the Prize Giving Ceremony that campaigns against nega- tive environmental activities for the 9th annual Keep A Clean School Competition. The Ceremony which was held at throughout Tobago. We the Grafton Beach Resort, Black Rock was well attended by school principals and achieve this through a vari- teachers vying for the top prize. The President of Environment Tobago, Mrs. Patricia ety of community an envi- ronmental outreach pro- Turpin, expressed the importance of this competition in educating youth as one way of grammes. addressing the solid waste problem in Tobago. Also attending the ceremony was Secre- tary of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport, Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke. Mrs. Environment TOBAGO is funded mainly through Duke gave the feature remarks in which she congratulated Environment Tobago for grants and membership fees. this initiative and the sustained work in education in schools with respect to pollution These funds go back into prevention and the reduction of solid waste generation. Mrs. Duke also thanked the implementing our projects. sponsors of this year’s competition, Methanex Trinidad Limited for their insight and We are grateful to all our sponsors over the years and support in this worthwhile cause. From inception, this competition has always received thank them for their contin- full sanction by the Division of Education, Sport and Youth Affairs, Tobago House of ued support Assembly. W hat’s inside “Keep a Clean 1 School” competition World Wetlands Day 3 Celebration How effective is Earth 4 Hour? Understanding the 5 CEC Process What are Tree 7 Book Review 8 Mr. Charles Percy, Managing Director of Methanex- A Responsible What’s Happening @ 9 Care Company, Mrs. Claudia Groom-Duke, Secretary of Division of Notes to 10 Education, Youth and Sport Affairs, Tobago House of Assembly and contributors Mrs. Patricia Turpin, President of Environment Tobago, stand with all the proud winners of this year’s competition
  2. 2. Page 2 Environment TOBAGO newsletter Mr. Charles Percy, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Methanex Trinidad Limited reiterated his company’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility particularly in the area of youth development, education and the envi- ronment. Historically, the competition has been very successful throughout schools in Tobago arming teachers and students with knowledge and hands-on learning about March 2009 waste reduction through the 3 R’s principle – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and more recently, the inclusion of Rethinking waste. This year 22 schools competed and the Editor: winners are: Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal Assistant Editor: Christopher Starr Grand Prize Winner- Montgomery Government Primary School Design & Layout: Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal 1st Place Winner- Montgomery Government Primary School Technical Support: 2nd Place Winner- St. Barnabas Anglican Primary School Nolan Craigwell, Jerome Ramsoondar 3rd Place Winner- Speyside Anglican Primary School Nigel Austin 4th Place Winner- Pembroke Anglican Primary School Enid Nobbee 5th Place Winner- Bon Accord Government Primary School Contributors: Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal Special Prizes went to: Christopher Starr Hema Singh Environment Pembroke Anglican Primary School TOBAGO Best Vegetable and Herb Garden Photographs: Bon Accord Government Primary School Environment TOBAGO Best Community Awareness & Involvement Initiative Bethesda Government Primary School Best Beautification Initiative Board of Directors Goodwood Methodist and Michael K. Hall 2008-2009 Best Composting - A tie Black Rock Government Primary School President:: Patricia Turpin Most Effective Management of Students Vice-President: Hope Anglican and Plymouth Anglican Kamau Akili Best Reuse of Material- a tie Secretary: Moriah Government Primary School Kay Seetal Best Recycling Initiative Treasurer: Shirley Mc Kenna Committee members: We congratulate all our schools which participated in this year’s competition Wendy Austin and specially commend the teachers and principals who coordinated the activities and William Trim found the time to incorporate this element of environmental education into the al- Fitzherbert Phillips Geoffrey Lewis ready packed curricula. Bertrand Bhikkary Special thanks also to our sponsors Methanex Trinidad Limited for their spon- Heather Pepe sorship and involvement in this year’s competition and their decision to exercise Cor- Ryan Allard porate Social Responsibility through partnering with Environment Tobago. David Antoine Andy Roberts
  3. 3. Page 3 Environment TOBAGO newsletter World Wetlands Day Celebrations Hema Singh, Environment TOBAGO World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on the second of February to high- light the many important values and necessary contribution of wetlands to the general health and well being of communities. In 2009, Environment Tobago was pleased to cele- brate World Wetlands Day with the community of Belle Garden and its environs. This year’s theme is Upstream Downstream: Wetlands Connect Us All. The village of Belle Garden was selected since Environment Tobago is currently conducting a Pilot Project Belle Garden Wetland, Tobago Sustainable Com- munity Based Wetland Assessment for the Improvement of Conservational World Wetlands Day and Educational Efforts. This Pilot project is funded by the United Nations Develop- Exhibition ment Programme (UNDP) and involves training tour guides from Belle Garden, Glamor- gan and Roxborough to conduct a wetland assessments and inventory. The festivities which were carried out during a three day period, were designed to complement the above project. Day one and Day two included a clean up of the Belle Garden Wetland. The National Reforestation group as well as trainees, members and staff of Environment Tobago and members of the village came out to collect over 94 bags of mostly plastic waste weighing over 1100 pounds. On Day Two Environment Tobago launched its annual World Wetlands Day Poster and Art Competition at the Belle Garden Village Community Centre. Also on the agenda was a presentation by Diana Melville of the Buccoo Reef Trust on Wetlands around Tobago. Following this was an informative presentation by trainee and National Reforestation employee Mr. Bryan Bain. Mr. Bain spoke of the local species of plants and animals found in wetlands as well as the many medicinal uses of some local varieties. A video on Wetlands, Water and Sustainability based on the Ramsar Convention on Wet- lands was shown to give persons attending information on Wetlands around the world. After the competition was launched, the Community Centre which became an exhibi- tion hall and was filled with wetland books, posters, stickers, specimens of wetland bio- “ To many people t hes e t all pe aks mak e for a challe ngi ng but sce nic hike. B ut t hey are not j ust anot her t all mount ai n to clim b. ” diversity such as mangrove, shells and marine life and local artwork done by schools across Tobago. Also joining the exhibition was the expert artisans, Kalisha George and Pamela Smart who displayed natural straw work in the form of straw hats and place mats. Local artist, Heather Dodson exhibited her artwork of driftwood wall art. The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) also participated and displayed posters and information on water con- servation and regulations. The exhibition and launch was well attended by teachers and local and international students. On Day Three Mr. Bryan Bain and Ms. Melissa Moore, two of our trainee tour guides led two guided wetland tours for persons who were inter- ested in learning more about the Belle Garden Wetland. Mr. Bain also led the Standard Four Class of the Belle Garden Anglican School in a Reforesta- tion Exercise. The 100 trees were donated by the Students at work Forestry Division at Studley Park.
  4. 4. Volume 3 Issue 1 Page 4 The World Wetlands Day Festi- val was truly a resounding success. This was made possible through a collabora- tive effort and Environment Tobago would like to thank the following persons and Organisations for their support and contribution: Some of the attendees at the World Wetlands Day Exhibition How effective is Earth Hour? Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal Dept of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies The global event known as Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and was pioneered by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) (Australia) and the Sydney Morn- ing Herald newspaper, with 2.2 million people including communities, businesses and Standard Four class individuals switching off their non essential lights and appliances for one hour, in an participants effort to raise awareness of the need to take action on climate change. This became a global event the following year with 50 million people in 35 countries participating, and iconic landmarks such as the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square in New York City, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Colosseum in Rome all stand- “ the presence of FP may be an indication, an "early ing in darkness. Current participation spans 64 countries so far. But does it really warning system", that our seas are polluted and that environmental changes are affecting the ability of wild make a difference if we all turned off the lights and appliances we did not need for an animals to resist infectious diseases” hour? It was calculated that turning off the electricity for one hour during Earth Hour 2007 was equivalent to removing 48,613 cars from the streets for one hour, which comes to removing six cars a year. However after much criticisms it was calcu- lated that the electricity consumption for Australia dropped by approximately 2.1% after all the factors were considered. Of course as the number of participating coun- tries increase, it is hoped so to will the amount of energy conserved. However, some factors put a damper on this plan, such as the size of the countries, take for instance our own twin island state with a population of only 1.3 million which can easily fit into a continental city. We could have a nationwide blackout and it might not amount to much on a global scale in terms of energy conservation. Anther factor is the time the event will be taking place where in some countries according to the time zone it will be much later than 8.30 pm hence the lights are going to be off anyway. However, Earth Hour was created more as a means of raising awareness of climate change issues and showing that collectively individual action can make a differ- ence in bringing about change. This year Earth Hour bears a special significance as par- ticipation will be used as a vote, where if you turn your lights off you vote for Earth and those left on are taken as a vote for global warming. These votes will be tallied and presented at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The policies decided on at this meeting will replace the Kyoto Protocol.
  5. 5. Volume 3 Issue 1 Page 5 Understanding the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) Process Hema Singh The need to have integrated environmental management at the national level was the precursor to the introduction of the necessary legislative framework to govern Trinidad & Tobago’s natural resources. In the year 2000, the Environmental Manage- ment (EM) Act (No. 3 of 2000) was passed and provides for the management of the environment within Trinidad & Tobago. Section 6 of the EM Act establishes the Envi- ronmental Management Authority and Section 35 stipulates the need for a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) mechanism to be facilitated through this Authority; in this way providing the legislative framework for the CEC process. Since then the CEC and the process to obtain one has been at the forefront of much controversy as the demand for sustainable use of natural resources and societal needs inevitably collide. This article will attempt to explain the CEC process and facili- MISSION STATEMENT tate understanding of the relevant legislation surrounding it. So what exactly is a CEC? It is a legal document issued by the Environmental Management Authority to an applicant to conduct designated activities at a specified location, in accordance with the conditions outlined in the CEC. E nvironment TOBAGO conserves Tobago’s The receipt of a CEC is the conclusion of a series of steps and means that the natural and living applicant has satisfied the requirements set out by the EMA and the project is regarded resources and advances as environmentally acceptable according to the CEC Rules 2001. the knowledge and Because the main objective of the CEC process is integrated environmental understanding of such management, there must be a check on proposed activities, an assessment of their resources, their wise likely impacts, a weighing of environmental risks and their mitigation and monitoring and sustainable use and where there are potential adverse effects. their essential As mentioned above, there are certain activities listed in the Designated Activi- relationship to human ties Order 2001 which require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be con- health and the quality of ducted due to the potential for environmental harm. Some of these activities listed in life broad categories are: • Agriculture • Heavy and Light Manufacturing Industry • Civil Works • Natural Resource/ Mineral Extraction and processing • Waste Disposal • Transport Operations and Construction of Associated Infrastructure • Other service-oriented industries An EIA is not required for every activity and when it is, it is a part of the entire CEC process. An EIA is a decision making tool and assists the EMA on whether the CEC should be granted or not. The applicant is expected to pay for the processing of the EIA and fees can range from TT$500.00 to TT$600,000.00. More information can be found in the CEC (Fees and Charges) Regulations, 2001. The applicant upon recognition that his proposed activity falls among the Designated Activities collects and completes the CEC application form. Once submitted, the appli- cation is screened by the EMA to determine its administrative and technical complete- ness. Acknowledgement of receipt of the application is sent out by the EMA along with noti-
  6. 6. Page 6 Environment TOBAGO newsletter fication of a CEC, a request for additional information or the requirement of an EIA (if necessary). If an EIA is not required, the EMA conducts a review of the proposed activ- ity, based on the information provided in the application. If an EIA is required, then the EMA consults with government institutions, the Appli- cant, the Public and Specialists/Experts to develop a draft Terms of Reference (TOR). The (TOR) is a document which sets out the parameters, goals/objectives and scope of an EIA. The applicant can request a modification of the draft TOR and the reason the modification has been requested. Once an agreement has been reached, the final TOR is issued. The applicant now has to provide an EIA meet- ing all the items/ information re- quested in the TOR. The Public has an opportunity to comment thirty (30) days after the EMA publishes the Notice in the Gazette. After submis- sion of the EIA re- port, the applicant can wait up to a maximum of eighty (80) days before no- tification of a deci- sion. If a CEC is granted the applicant cannot change the activity in any way which can result in adverse environ- mental effects. Also the proposed activity must commence within three (3) years of the effective date of the CEC. If not, another applica- tion must be made. The CEC must be displayed in public view at the site of the activity. Application process for CEC
  7. 7. Volume 3 Issue 1 Page 7 If a CEC has been refused after review of application, a notification will be sent to the applicant stating the reasons for refusal. The applicant has the right to appeal the decision of a refusal to grant the CEC or the conditions stipulated in the grant of a CEC. A National Register of Certificates of Environmental Clearance contains all details and status of applications. Confidential information regarding the application will be omitted. Members of the public may examine this register upon notification of the EMA. Any person can request an extract from the registrar. A nominal fee is charged per page. What are Tree Banks Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal Dept of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies The terms “tree banks” and “tree banking” are used in tree ordinances to re- fer to the conservations of tree resources. However, one should note that these are not widely accepted terms in forestry. But what is a “tree bank” anyway? The term refers to the methods as well as the area used to replant trees when the original vege- tation has been either removed or damaged during the development of the land. How- ever, often not all of the trees may be replanted on the land probably due to space restrictions. Therefore alternative arrangements have to be made often in the form of adopting one of these “off-site mitigation” tactics. A popular one is the designation of a permanent receiver site for tree plant- ings; such areas are usually public such as parks. These areas need not necessarily be devoid of trees to be designated as a receiver site. The plantings are usually carried out by the developer or landowner of the area the trees are removed from. However, if they are not able to undertake the responsibility of the plantings themselves they can pay a fee towards a municipal tree planting fund or a more general fund in support of tree planting. Sometimes these funds are used to buy areas of land which are desig- nated forest reserves. The use of a forest reserve can not only be used to maintain numbers but also the genetic material of species outside of their natural range is pre- served. Planting of the trees need not be permanent in some cases, for instance using vacant lots as temporary nurseries to hold seeds, seedlings or small saplings for trans- plantation at a later date. Also some trees may be removed and “banked” temporarily and replanted either at the same site or elsewhere. However, although this method is useful when it comes to conserving tree species that are native or rare to the area it may be the most cost effective method. Therefore we can see that “tree banking” does not only mean to plant trees to replace the ones destroyed. It is a means of maintaining the functions carried out by trees such as holding the soil together and preventing erosion. It is also a means of preserving the genetic diversity of the vegetation removed.
  8. 8. Page 8 Environment TOBAGO newsletter HIGH TIDE AND GREEN GRASS Review of: Robert A. Hedeen 1982. Naturalist on the Nanticoke. Centreville, Maryland: Tidewater 170 pp. [Fourteenth in a series on "naturalist-in" books.] Christopher K. Starr Dept of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies ckstarr99@hotmail.com Chesapeake Bay is a very long, north-south inlet on the east coast of the USA with a narrow mouth opening into the Atlantic Ocean. It has a complex shoreline on both sides, so that we can think of Chesapeake Bay as lined with inlets throughout. Despite the narrow mouth, tides and changes in salinity are an important factor in Chesapeake Bay and the rivers that feed it. Separating the bay from the ocean is a peninsula, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. The area is extremely rich in history -- natu- ral and otherwise -- and a visit to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Easton, Maryland is very much recommended. The Nanticoke River opens into the bay about midway on the Eastern Shore. The fastlands along its shore are dense with buildings and yards, but the extensive marshlands largely exist in a wild state. Robert Hedeen was an academic biologist who bought a cottage on the Nanticoke in 1977 and set about to understand its biota, sea- sons and plankton-based food chains. This charming, well-focused book is his account of what it was like. Each of the 11 chapters is devoted to a particular creature or group of creatures, with attention to more general themes. Here we meet the wonderfully archaic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus, common all along the mid-Atlantic shore of North America), the seasonally abundant sea-nettles (jellyfish with very long stinging tentacles), the anadromous blue- back herring (Alosa aestivalis), the venomous, incredibly ugly toadfish (Opsanus tau), the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemmys terrapin), the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and various biting flies (with a disquisition on various commercial and home-made repellents), among others. Hedeen gives proper attention to conservation questions, especially with re- spect to waterfowl. Because of the unusually well-documented history of the Chesa- peake Bay area, we have good records of the decline and extinction of some species, while some others flourish, in some cases due to conservation efforts.
  9. 9. Volume 3 Issue 1 Page 9 WHAT’S HAPPENING @ ET Thanks from ET Volunteers needed! Scrip J Persons who are interested in helping with cataloguing and Jaric Environment Safety & Health Services Ltd. filing of ET’s educational, research and operational material Funding received from Mesenex and UNDP/GEF and archiving. Environment TOBAGO t-shirts now available!!! Type: Polos Type: Lady’s tees Size: Small, Medium & Large Size: Small & Medium Price: TT$150.00 Price: TT$100.00 Colours: Kelly green, royal Colours: Lime green, red and blue, red, gold and ash grey black Description: ET logo embroi- Description: ET logo printed dered on left breast, spon- on front and sponsor logo at sor’s logo printed on the the back centre back. Type: Regular tees Size: Small, Medium & Large Price: TT$100.00 Colours: Kelly green, red, black, navy blue, ash, purple, royal blue and black forest Description: ET logo printed on front and sponsor logos on sleeves at the back centre Orders can be made through the office. Environment TOBAGO Environmental and Ser- New Members ET is now on Facebook With a membership of 391 world- vices Map of Tobago wide, ET welcomes the following We invite everyone on Facebook to members: join. They are excellent and will be Here we will post upcoming events, published every two years. Pub- Lydia Medina links, photos and videos on ET mat- lished in January 2008. Requests Winthrop & Beatrice Sargent ters and other environmental issues. for these maps can be made to ET ET group link: office. http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/ group.php?gid=53362888661&ref=ts
  10. 10. Page 10 Environment TOBAGO newsletter READERS’ FORUM Office: 11 Cuyle Street Dear ET Newsletter Readers, Scarborough, Tobago, W.I. We want to hear from YOU! Comments may be edited for length and clarity. Mailing address: P.O. Box 503, Send your comments to: jo_annesewlal@yahoo.com Scarborough, or envirtob@tstt.net.tt Tobago, W.I. Phone: 1-868-660-7462 Fax: 1-868-660-7467 GUIDELINES TO CONTRIBUTORS E-mail: envirtob@tstt.net.tt Articles on the natural history and environment are welcome especially those on Trinidad and Tobago. Articles should not exceed approximately 1200 words (2 pages) and the editors reserve the right to edit the length. Images should be submitted as separate files. Submit material to any of the following: 1) jo_annesewlal@yahoo.com 2) envirtob@tstt.net.tt Deadline for submission of material for the 2nd Quarter 2009 issue of We are on the web the Bulletin is June 10th, 2009. http://www.Environmenttobago.net EMAIL ________________________________________________