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Where’s the national recycling plan?

Published: 
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Diary of a mothering worker

Daily I grow more fed up with the People’s Partnership’s door-in-your-face approach to public accountability. Whether in relation to the complete lack of consultation or transparency regarding the Miami Vice-inspired concretisation of Chaguaramas, or Jairam Seemungal’s bizarrely negligent statements in relation to SIS alleged “land-grabbing” in Couva. 

Or Minister Ramnarine’s apparent willingness to oversee disquieting disbursements through NGC’s Corporate Communications department, finally explaining those vacuous full-page ads about “happiness” conjured up by the Government’s most expensive spin doctor. Or public servant revelations of “Prisongate” plagiarism and lawyer-garbed tiefing.

Amidst such untrustworthiness is the shutting down of one of the Green Fund’s most successful projects, Plastikeep, which has made citizens of all classes, business owners, and 42 schools of children as passionate and committed about recycling as one could ever dream.

Without justification, Plastikeep has been given until the end of the month to pack up its collection bins and to tell all, who now wake up with new feel-good routines of environmental care, that their plastic will no longer be collected from next month despite Plastikeep having a system in place to collect and export it. Now, where will it go? Again, to our landfills, poisonously and purposelessly.

The EMA says it is going to introduce a national recycling plan, but no citizen has ever seen this plan detailed on paper, knows when it will start, has been assured that it will be done through door-to-door collection as it must, or can be shown an accountable and ready infrastructure in place. Such a plan would also require tax incentives and legislation, currently non-existent.

Maybe the EMA will build on the well thought-out plan being championed by local government officials, but there’s highly suspect jostling for Green Fund money, between SWMCOL, and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, headed by Ganga Singh.

It’s Minister Singh who needs to immediately account for why he hasn’t yet approved a third phase, and even expansion, of a project that the Green Fund’s own Executing Unit and Advisory Committee support, and why his Ministry is hungry to make Green Fund cash available at this moment to administer well, nothing, when refuse collection isn’t even under his Ministry’s portfolio.

The fact that Plastikeep has created community happiness, togetherness and hope without giving the government’s preferred advertising agency a dollar, and has inspired communities across the East-West corridor’s marginal constituencies, may mean little on the road to victory that follows Persad-Bissessar’s index finger.

Every one of our votes counts, however, and a genuine groundswell is more personally and emotionally connected to this programme’s closure, without proper accounting for why, why now and why with nothing else in place, than politicians realise. Plastikeep gets one per cent of the Green Fund’s yearly income of about $300 million, and makes more difference to our lives than the unaccounted millions wrapped up in NGC, and Chaguaramas’ questionable development. This can be an election issue if we decide.

Additionally, every political rally until September should end with properly collected plastic being dropped into available collection bins the next day. Minister Singh, how about non-partisan advocacy to make that both parties’ reality, from next week? Dr Rowley, surely you agree? Which party does it, if any, would show who really loves the little children inheriting our garbage-ridden coastlines and country, and it would show more care for future generations than any platform robber speech. 

School children are learning a lesson in civics, and are ready to protest to protect Plastikeep.

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