RECENTLY appointed Minister for Planning and Development, Pennelope Beckles, in her capacity as Minister responsible for the Environment, appeals to citizens not only to exercise caution with their physical health over the Easter weekend , but also prioritize environmental health.
In a press release yesterday, Beckles noted that it is customary for people to go camping, hiking, visiting the country’s beaches and a host of other eco-friendly activities, especially during the long Easter week end.
However, she emphasized that people must be responsible for the sustainable enjoyment of Trinidad and Tobago’s environmental resources, which include terrestrial and marine physical features, forests and biodiversity resources.
Beckles said, “Let’s not be selfish with the beauty of our natural resources, future generations also have the right to enjoy and enjoy the benefits of a healthy environment.”
The Ministry of Planning and Development press release also noted that the Easter period is part of the peak turtle nesting season in Trinidad and Tobago and, with the long weekend, many also participate in turtle nesting events. turtle watching tours.
The minister called for increased awareness and appreciation that the five species of sea turtles visiting the local coasts are protected by law and that every effort should be made to ensure that people take care of the beaches they visit. .
Expanding on the five species of sea turtles that visit local shores, the ministry noted that leatherback sea turtle is listed as vulnerable, loggerhead sea turtle is also vulnerable, hawksbill sea turtle is critically endangered, green sea turtle is endangered and the olive ridley turtle is listed as another vulnerable species.
T&T is still one of the busiest turtle nesting sites in the Western Hemisphere and the government continues to do its best to keep it that way.
Denny Dipchansingh, Conservator of Forests and Chief Game Warden, Forestry Division of the Department of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, also says: “The public can help us protect sea turtles by not sitting on it, because it can destroy their organs or even kill them; avoid exposing turtles to bright lights, reduce disposal of any marine debris (plastic and other trash) as this can lead to entanglement of reptiles. Also, if you observe anyone harming the turtles, please contact the Forestry Division or the police for assistance.
On the legislative level, legal notice n°89, vol.53, n°37 aims to protect sea turtle species.
This law was made legal on March 28, 2014, with the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) declaring the five species Ecologically Sensitive Species (ESS).
The Conservator of Forests also adds that Section 2 of the Conservation of Wild Life Act (CoWA) states that a protected animal is any animal not listed or mentioned in the Second or Third Schedule of the Act.
Accordingly, the penalty for causing injury to sea turtles is a fine of $100,000 and a two-year prison term.
Beckles said a Cabinet-appointed national sea turtle task force, chaired by Nadra Nathai-Gyan of the Environment Management Authority (EMA), is also contributing to sea turtle conservation as part of a three-party approach involving government agencies, communities and researchers ensuring that Trinidad and Tobago’s reputation as an advocate for turtle conservation is maintained.