Message by Minister for Climate Resilience, Environment, and Renewable Energy, Hon. Kerryne James in observance of Anti-Litter Awareness Week 2022.
I am pleased to extend best wishes to all for the most enjoyable summer festivities: Carriacou regatta, Rainbow City Festival, The long-awaited 2022 Carnival celebrations, and generally the season of outdoor events.
As Minister with responsibility for the Environment, I am fully aware of the critical supporting role that a clean and pristine environment plays in creating the perfect backdrop against which our festivities are held each year.
As the world focuses its attention on the Environment through the observances of World Nature Conservation Day and International Day for the preservation of Mangrove Eco-Systems, here in Grenada, we will focus on the impact of Littering on the Environment with the observance of the Annual Anti Litter Awareness Week… July 24th to 30th.
As we observe Anti-Litter Awareness Week, let it be an observance of celebration. Of celebrating the many efforts being made to reverse those actions that have so badly impacted mother earth and our own actions here to combat land, air, and water pollution.
Let it be an opportunity to renew our commitment to avoid every temptation to commit acts of littering, illegal dumping, burning, and chemical discharges into rivers, streams, coastal areas, mangroves, and the marine ecosystem.
Time has taught us many lessons:
- That it’s easy and takes little time to destroy our Environment, but it takes hard thought, strenuous efforts, and years beyond our lifetime to plan and reverse environmental damage.
- And the manner in which we treat our environment will determine the quality of our lives.
Our 2022 Anti Litter Awareness Week celebrations highlight Sustainable Development Goals 6, 13, and 14 (Clean Water and Sanitation, Climate Action, and Life below water, respectively); as it carries the tagline “Stop Marine Plastic Pollution… Be the solution.”
I am aware that in our bid to bring our message of better environmental practices to the rest of the world, especially our developed counterparts, we must first internalize and effect our actions geared at pollution prevention and environmental degradation. But, unfortunately, environmental damage such as disappearing coastlines now washed by destructive waves of sargassum seaweeds and tonnes of plastic waste hits the very heart of small islands like ours. Yet, at the same time, it appears negligible to some of the larger, more industrialized countries, who are, in many instances, the major contributors to these acts of environmental damage.
The Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority, the lead institution in executing the week’s observance, focuses its attention on how bad waste management practices over many years have negatively impacted water systems through pollution and how the decisions and actions we take now can serve to reverse some of the damage already done.
Having assumed the position of Minister for Climate Resilience, Environment, and Renewable Energy in recent weeks and being quite a youth myself, I believe my appointment has positioned me to lead Grenada’s commitment to advocate for the changes that will ensure that our generation and future generations will inherit an environment that is conducive to not just basic survival, but one that is rich with life and energy and which supports Tourism, Education, Recreation, Agriculture, Economic Growth and so much more. I am committed to and am up to this noble challenge, but I need your help.
I am aware that some habits are very hard to break, especially those which have become a part of our lives. But I wish to implore upon every citizen to commit to being a part of the solution.
The time to start these changes is now.
In the spirit of the festive season, and being aware that it’s the time of year when there is increased waste generation emerging from the festivities and also increased incidences of littering, I wish to encourage all to be mindful that after the Carnival, we still have our Environment to live with. So let us not go into reverse gear and destroy what generations before us spent years to protect, enhance and build.
Littering serves to mar the good intentions of those whose passion is to only showcase our rich Grenadian culture in music, food & drink, song, dance, art, and craftsmanship.
I wish to impress upon our promoters and event organizers to give priority to waste management in the planning and staging of activities and to commit to environmental protection.
Support for good solid waste management, including litter prevention, has a very strong bearing on the success of our festivals, including its impact on Tourism and the Economy.
My Ministry is duty-bound and resolute in our efforts to end the scourge of littering throughout our country through legislative reform, Implementation, education, and enforcement.
As we observe Anti-Litter Awareness Week, I wish to salute our sanitation workers who tirelessly give off their energies with long hours dedicated to ensuring prompt clean-up operations during and after the events. Your commitment is both admirable and indeed commendable.
Public support for their work is critical. Your support calls for a greater commitment to environmental stewardship.
Every effort to help curb our big litter problem can make a vast difference between littered commercial centres, beaches, and communities and the creation of the perfect backdrop against which we wish to celebrate our August festivities.
Let’s challenge ourselves to make that difference in 2022.