Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, left, takes part in a mangrove replanting exercise in Brickfield, Couva, with representatives of the Environmental Policy and Planning Division and the IMA.

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis has appealed to citizens who will be using T&T’s natural spaces over the long Easter weekend to keep in mind the value and importance of environmental resources and be the guardians of the environment.

She said this requires “us to leave nothing that was not meant to be on the nation’s beaches, rivers, hiking trails and wherever else we choose to recreate this weekend.”

In a statement yesterday, the minister said citizens were therefore required to dump waste in garbage receptacles, which might also mean carrying the trash in bags from one point to another location where a bin can be found.

She said with the reopening of the Macqueripe Beach Facility and the popularity of other natural features across T&T, thousands of citizens would be flocking for some much needed relaxation while following the required COVID-19 protocols.

Robinson-Regis added that there must also be an understanding that natural resources could be maintained for generations to come.

She also called for everyone to do what was right in exercising environmental pride and equating it with a sense of national pride.

“When leaving the area, collect and sort all of the garbage into recyclables and use the ICare bins found in various parts of the country.

“Doing so will significantly reduce the amount of trash in our watercourses and parks, ensuring that everyone coming after us enjoys our natural features just as or even better than we did,” she said.

In March of this year, the Ministry of Planning and Development partnered with the National Trust and the European Union to conduct a beach clean-up near the Carenage fishing facility and recorded 1,399 pounds of garbage, consisting mostly of plastic water bottles, in approximately three hours.

She said the Planning Ministry found this alarming within an area that stretched approximately 100 metres.

A similar case was discovered on Chacachacare Island about two weeks ago by the Planning Ministry with the local organising committee of Ocean Conservancy where again mostly plastic litter stretched across the entire length of one of the island’s beaches.

She said the litter not only impacted the aesthetics of a place, but flora and fauna, especially now, during the turtle nesting period which extends from March to September.