Proper Waste Management in Trinidad and Tobago

Proper Waste Management in Trinidad and Tobago

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Trinidadians do nothing but complain. We love having flies, roaches and mosquitoes in our homes. Rodents can almost be considered family. The average Trinbagonian will blame the government for everything instead of trying to fix ‘me’ first or trying to recycle. Why? ; because society creates its own common health problems by illegally dumping garbage, when various landfills are available for proper waste disposal.
Time has evolved and so too has the standard of sanitary conditions globally. We however, in Trinidad and Tobago have not. We litter our beaches almost every weekend by leaving trash behind. We insist that the program me CEPEP will have something to do, and clean up after us. Some are even more ‘cautious’ and walk with garbage bags but to no avail. Often at times before the sanitary workers arrive stray dogs destroy these and the entire place remains polluted. The garbage is blown into the sea and all over the land. This remains in hard to reach places and creates breading grounds for our loveable pests. Trinidad is probably the only place in the world where persons still fling trash out of a passing car windows.
One of the most efficient services we have which is provided for free is waste management.

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Garbage collectors work almost daily throughout the country. One mans’ trash is another mans’ treasure as this same disposed waste is transported out of the dumps by neighboring residents. This occurs on a daily basis and the trash is back in our communities providing the environment for reproduction. The nations citizens has no self discipline although we are well aware of the various life treating or sometimes fatal diseases and health problems we create.
Ordinary ailments, such as Yellow Fever, The Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and The Malaria Fever become a national threat to us. In most developed countries these complaints are almost invisible. The Tropics being the home of the Aides Aegypti Mosquito provide the temperature needed for procreation of this specie. Our poor waste management practices houses this process. We keep old tyres and unused containers in our surrounding environment. Bushes are left to become overgrown, minor drains are not kept clean which eventually leads to congestion and flooding.
Poor dumping practices seem to always end up in our waterways. Rivers and streams are clogged which causes major flooding throughout the country whenever heavy rainfall occurs annually. Last year on 19th November, 2008 flooding caused major havoc in the country. The bridge along the east – bound lane of The Churchill Roosevelt Highway, just after The Macoya intersection, caved in. The capital city of Port - of - Spain came to a virtual standstill as rivers burst their banks following heavy rains, trapping thousands of residents and commuters. Water borne diseases should no longer be a dilemma to us. We however enjoy having risky lives. We stand and play in flood waters as a display for the media to get the governments attention ignoring the risk factors involved. Diseases such as the epidemic Cholera and Gastro Intestinal infection which lead to diarrhea, high fevers, headaches, aches and pains are derived from contaminated water . Citizens displaying these common symptoms usually go to the nearest Health Facility. We then complain of long lines, no beds, no doctors etc. We blame the government not recognizing we have just created our respective illness.
There is a wide spread of pollutants which contribute to the very same health problems we endure. Headaches, hearing impairment, annoyance, sleep disturbance, sleep quality and a total lack of sleep which can lead to chronic stress, depression or eventually deafness all result from the level of noise we are exposed to. Noise pollution has also been linked to heart diseases and high blood pressure can lead to Acute Cerebro Vascular Attack or a stroke as we commonly call it are detrimental to ones’ health. There is a reasonable explanation for a set decibel of noise and a legal noise pollution control rules. The government uses it to protect us from ourselves and to avoid persons from disturbing the peace. Some may consider this hypocrisy as annual Carnival celebrations involve loud music. However globally persons have to apply for a permit, pay fees and get approval before such events can be carried through. Nevertheless, this exposure causes temporary health disorders which has a negative effect on the wellbeing of humans and animals. Our auditory nerves are affected by almost every sound. I Pods and MP 3 players, if exposed for long periods may have an unenthusiastic effect on our bodies as we grow older not underestimating that aging decreases hearing sensitivity.
Trinidadians don’t seem to care about the effects of deforestation caused by illegal dumping of chemicals and purposeful use of fertilizers and pesticides for vegetation. We are aware of crop rotation but we continuously use chemicals to enhance every cycle. We destroy land for domestic gardening. Small trees are removed and large tree roots are chopped and cleared . This both contributes to productive and harmful consequences because vegetation is used as food which helps the economy but in the case of fertilizers they enhance vegetation and insecticides and pesticides get rid of unwanted insects with disregard to the protection of the soil. They kill pollinators like the Milibug, bees or butterflies. Fertilizers not only destroy the pollinators but they also affect the large canopy . Adding chemicals alter the soil, this creates a well fertilized soil for vegetation but kills forestry and makes the soil loose. We lack knowledge that we need the large trees and plants for oxygen and the removal of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hence reducing greenhouse gases.
Half of the population smoke, even our cars smoke. We still burn backyard garbage instead of placing it to be collected. On a daily basis Trinidadians contribute significantly to polluting the air by means of factory waste like the non-stop flames at Petrotrin, chlorofluorocarbon or CFC’s from every hair salon , dust emulsion, random gases and disgusting odors from rotted garbage or leaking sewage all make us sick. These pollutants cause irritation of the eyes, noise and throat. They also cause respiratory diseases, immune system influenzas and birth defects. Its major disposition however is lung diseases. CHOGM or the commonwealth heads of government meeting which is held every two ( 2 ) years brings together the leaders of the commonwealth countries to discuss global issues, and to agree upon collective policies and initiatives . In 2009 this meeting was held in our country Trinidad and Tobago with global warming being one of its major topics. The ozone layer has depleted and the world has recognized need to change. Some may maintain that first world countries like the USA, China or Europe causes the majority of the green house effect and they need to change their irresponsible discharge of gaseous fumes before we can revolutionize. However if we start by practicing safe means of waste disposal we can influence change.
Oil spills and untreated raw sewage may not be the every day man’s fault but it exists and it affects our health. Spilled Petroleum is not only a point - source problem but also affect us humans from enjoying the shore for a good sea bath. It affects the marine life and their habitats, sea birds, sea mammals, the mangrove and its living organisms . Fishing which is an on-going source of revenue pays the major price. Fishermen and restaurants owners who gain their livelihood from this tourist trade suffer. The economy is also affected by the impact of oil spills due to interference of recreational and domestic fishing. Industries that rely on seawater for their normal operation can also be adversely affected by oil spills. This negative practice which not only affects the environment but our direct lives have been occurring for years but we don’t seem to care. Material waste which surfaces in our beaches stay for years because nobody takes responsibility for placing it there or removing it, instead we complain that the beaches are not clean or it has too much and sand flies or mosquitoes.
An aluminum smelter is coming to T & T . The government has actually started to work on it. Radio active contamination which is produced by nuclear explosions can result in cancers, immune system and birth systems defects, leukemia and it also influences hereditary defects in humans. While the economy will have an increase in anguinty the lives of our citizens be in jeopardy . Many small protests were held leading to the development of an anti smelter organization which keeps on campaigning but to no avail as these efforts have had no positive outcomes thus far. Many dispute with the governments actions but every day we contribute to radiation. Microwaves and water heaters are used on a daily basis. We all have cell phones which we spend long hours on and despite all the warning attempts to inform citizens about its dangers they still abuse the use of their mobile phones. Hair dryers, x-rays and all other medical scans can produce same defects a smelter can cause, or it can be caused by any object which produces radiation waves. While these positive results are necessary, something has to be done to curb radioactive pollution. I think government and society needs to pull all their resources together so that they can come to an suitable a final decision which that smelter plans should not be situated in close proximity to citizens of the country because at every point we are exposed to radio active waves.
It seems as though our society ignore the dangers of illegal dumping. We need to stop polluting the environment and to lead by example. In the USA considerable changes have been implemented to reduce unnecessary pollution and to be eco-friendly. The dependent or shift from fuel to wind energy is one such transformation which has had positive results thus far. They have also started using corn as fuel and the introduction of hybrid and electronic cars to lessen the carbon emission from the exhaust of vehicles. A band has been implemented for commercial diesel trucks and buses from idling and more organic materials have been available to citizens so their health and the environment benefit. For years USA has had specific bins for glass, plastic and metals so their trash is partially sorted before it reaches the landfills. USA have and has continuously upgraded their recycle plans and has built year round facilities to deal with pollution. Colleges in the USA in collaboration with Brita has begun a campaign against plastic bottles, and commenced with the use of the Brita water filters and bio – degradable water bottles to reduce the number of bottles which reaches the landfill. Their law system is very efficient as all crimes are dealt with. Persons merely risk being fined as living conditions are hefty to maintain. Bills are nonstop as they have to pay for everything, in this instance persons do not misuse or waste resources which has a positive impact indirectly on the environment. If our citizens had to pay for everything we would not have so much pollution.
Proper waste management is very important as a daily functioning and we as a country lack this. The citizens of Trinidad and Tobago need to inform themselves on efficient practices so common problems caused by poor waste management can be emitted. A high sanitary condition is very important to minimize the spread of infections and diseases, it also reduces the risk of accidental injury to tourists which has an impact on the community and country economy. It helps provide a pleasant atmosphere and reduces odors. In this process the attraction of insects pests and scavenger animals would stop. We as humans will enjoy a clean, safe and serene environment .


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