Sian Cuffy-Young (Siel Environmental Services, Trinidad & Tobago)
Dr. Lorna Inniss, Coordinator, UN Environment Cartagena Convention Secretariat
Shanta King, Project Director Unite Caribbean Re-PLAST-OECS Pilot Plastic Recycling Project
Whether it is Jamaica or Trinidad, Aruba or Saint Lucia, the story is the same: the Caribbean is overwhelmed with waste – in particular, plastic of all kinds. For many, plastic bottles are the main offenders, with gullies and drains clogged and causing flooding. Waste is dumped in mangrove areas – even large household items like refrigerators! This not only seriously endangers marine life but leaks pollutants into the soil and when burned adds to air pollution. It harms our tourism product, also. We know the problems – what are the solutions? We will talk to people working in the field about innovative systems, and what works – and what does not work - in the Caribbean setting. Is recycling the easy answer, and what are the challenges? How can we encourage behavior change among citizens? This discussion will try to pinpoint the fundamental issues that must be addressed, while pointing to some creative solutions that may yield positive results, without incurring major costs.