The geography project has been going great – we’ve been hard at work with interviews, questionnaires, surveys and a recycling project in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Trinidad has been named by the World Bank the biggest producer of waste per capita in the world. In addition, Trindad’s landfills have reached capacity, posing health risks and severe ecological threat. This makes Trinidad an excellent case study for waste management. We aim to assess the true extent of this issue, the extent of public awareness and identify some possible solutions. At the end of our study we will be sharing our data with NGOs to help them in their applications for funding in future projects and to also help bring awareness to the extent of the issue to government.
During the first week we started our research by carrying out questionnaires on the UWI campus and conducting a number of interviews set up with members of staff, as well as making general observations of our surroundings.
In week 2 we continued interviews with staff at UWI, and questionnaires in Tunapuna market and in the Trincity shopping centre.
Week 3 was the most exciting yet as we went on a visit to Wa Samaki Ecosystems – a permaculture farm. Here we met for a discussion with Anne-marie and Sean who work there. We were given a tour of the farm where they showed us the plants they grow, their composting systems and their rescue animals.
The team plans to do some volunteering here this coming week.
In week 4 we begun work on our UWI recycling project. The aim of this microstudy is to set up some new recycling bins on campus and monitor their use to assess whether the waste management issue in Trinidad is a matter of lack of infrastructure or more of a cultural/social issue.
We will also be contacting the companies who are mandated to recycle the waste that is currently collected on campus to find out what actually happens to it (sometimes recycled waste actually ends up in the landfill).
Below is Lucy, Rory and Jess posing where we planned to place the bins.
During week 5 we made a visit to Cashew Gardens, a community recycling project. Cashew Gardens is leading the way in showing that communities do have the will to recycle, given the means to.
The Cashew Gardens community has a monthly bottle sorting event where they sort all the recycling which they have been collecting to then send it away. The whole team shall be attending this months sorting session on Tuesday.
In week 6 we had an interview with SWMCOL, the company responsible for waste management in Trinidad and Trinidad’s three landfills. We also had an interview with Tisha Marajh from Green Alternatives in Action who aims to bring together private sectors, government and companies such as Coca Cola and Blue Water in discussion and collaboration on environmental issues.
In addition, we finally set up our recycling bins on campus which we are very happy with!
Stay tuned for updates on next weeks volunteering at Wa Samaki and Cashew Gardens!
The Trinidad team.