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Water Taxi group is sole authorized Tobago Cays Marine Park garbage collector

Water Taxi group is sole authorized Tobago Cays Marine Park garbage collector

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The Southern Grenadines Water Taxi Association has been appointed the sole authorized garbage collector in the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP).

According to a release, prior to February 6, there was no organized garbage collection system present within {{more}}the marine park. Garbage collection was done in a very informal way, where untrained boat operators collect garbage from yachters with a promise to dispose of it on Union Island.

“However, in many, if not most cases, the operators would collect the garbage and throw it in the mangroves, sea or beaches along the way,” the release from the Sustainable Grenadines Inc said.

As a result, the need to develop and implement a proper garbage disposal and collection system within the Tobago Cays Marine Park to stop this unpleasant practice was recognized.

“Yearly, coastal clean-up records have shown that a large number of the litter items collected were not of local origin and the largest of which is plastic bottles, which amounts to more than four thousand,” the release said.

With a clear objective in mind to reduce the amount of litter entering the marine environment in and around the Tobago Cays Marine Park, the leadership of the water taxi association held talks with stakeholders involved (the Union Island tourist Bureau, the Tobago Cays Marine Park, Central Water & Sewerage Authority and Uni-clean) and gained their support to address the problem by putting a formal collection and disposal system in place.

The Southern Grenadines Water Taxi Association now has the right to be the sole authorized garbage collector in the marine park. This project is considered by many to be a much needed and timely one. Nine persons were trained in Sustainable Solid Waste Management on Thursday, February 5 and the project was officially launched with a ceremony at the Union Island Tourist Board on Friday, February 6, 2015.

The crowd turnout for the opening saw a wide cross-section of persons, including teachers, hoteliers, and representatives from the Central Water and Sewerage Authority Solid Waste Unit, the Union Island tourist Bureau and the Tobago Cays Marine Park.

Funding for this project is being provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through their Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme, under a project entitled “Strengthening the water taxi operators’ capacity to reduce the amount of garbage entering the marine environment in the Tobago Cays Marine Park.”

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