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Trinidad & Tobago

Location of the Project
Location of the Project

Title of IWEco National sub-Project

Reduce and reverse land degradation at selected Quarry site(s) in the North East of Trinidad using an integrated water, land and ecosystems management approach.

Introduction

The AripoSavannas, located in North Eastern Trinidad, is designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and Strict Nature Reserve under Trinidad & Tobago’s Environmental Management Act (2000). It includes unique habitats, rare and endemic biodiversity and is of great scientific importance. The Savannas provide important ecosystem services - water resources for both aquifer recharge and direct extraction, high quality sand and gravel deposits for construction, and livelihoods for many associated in the quarrying industry.

Trinidad Tobago

Quarrying in this part of Trinidad started in the 1940s to meet national demand for aggregate materials by the building and road construction industries. Poor regulation over the years has led to indiscriminate quarrying, resulting in severe land degradation as existing vegetation and top soil is cleared leading to loss of habitat, wildlife and plants. Watercourses are polluted by large quantities of sediment from erosion and from wash plants, and this eventually is transported to the sea, affecting coastal water quality badly.

Given the sensitivity of the ecosystems within the North East area, focussing attention on the restoration and rehabilitation of the degraded quarry areas was deemed to be of high priority by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago and is the focus of their IWEco National sub-Project.

The overall objective of this sub-project is a reduction in risk posed by land degradation at selected quarry sites in the northeast of Trinidad through the employment of an integrated water, land and ecosystems management approach.

The major two outcomes of this project will be: 1) To reduce the scarring of the landscape through the implementation of appropriate rehabilitation techniques and 2) To reduce the impact on the natural and socio-economic environment through the application and adherence to international best practice for quarry operators and improved adherence to local legislation.

Status of Project

The Project was launched in May 2018 with a 48-month timeline. National Quarries Company Limited (NQCL), the state owned and operated quarry, located in Guaico, was chosen as the pilot training and rehabilitation site. It consists of three areas:

  • One 0.5 hectare area focused on planting of tree species for food production, creation of wildlife habitat and regeneration of original forest species;
  • One 1.7 hectare area of a back-filled exhausted quarry pit devoid of soil nutrients with severe gullying and erosion occurring. For this site the pilot interventions underway are: soil nutrification through the creation of mulch using waste beer hops; tree and grass cuttings and sargassum which would otherwise go to a landfill; planting of vetiver grass to address soil erosion; creation of living check dams to stem gullying and water run off, and; creation of a plant nursery which would serve as a source of plants for other areas to be rehabilitated under the project.
  • One 0.5 hectare of compacted, backfilled, exhausted quarry pit where forest species enrichment is being tested to determine the best species for rehabilitation of quarries.

The National Project Steering Committee (NPSC) held its first meeting in August 2018 and meets on a quarterly basis. It is made up of representatives of various ministries and agencies responsible for overseeing and managing sustainable quarrying in Trinidad and Tobago. These include: the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries; the Ministry of Planning and Development- Town and Country Division and Environmental Division; the Ministry of Agriculture Land and Fisheries- Forestry Division and Commission of State Lands; the Water Resources Agency and the Project’s national executing agency, the EMA.

In September 2018, two non-governmental organizations, the Trust for Sustainable Livelihoods (SUSTRUST) and IAMovement (IAM), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme - Small Grants Programme, began developing a quarry rehabilitation training programme as part of the project’s livelihoods programme. Between September and December, twenty-seven persons from surrounding communities underwent a 4-month programme of classroom and field work at the pilot sites. These “Quarry Rehabilitation Champions” were trained in areas such as site preparation and planting, creation of check dams and fire tracing, nursery development, top-soil conservation and management, mulching and implementing vetiver as a rehabilitation intervention. This component aims to develop community capability thereby enabling replication at other, additional sites to be identified under the national sub-project.

The establishment and implementation of an effective public awareness campaign to increase voluntary compliance by quarry operators and monitoring of quarries by regulatory agencies is another key activity. A draft document: “Guideline for the Preparation of Rehabilitation Plans” was completed by the EMA in December 2018 and is currently out for stakeholder review before finalization for publication and distribution in July 2019. Since March 2015, the EMA has required that a Rehabilitation Plan be submitted and approved by them prior to the commencement of mining/quarrying operations for which a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) has been granted. This guidebook is designed to assist applicants in submitting succinct and satisfactory Rehabilitation Plans.

Trinidad & Tobago National sub-Project Background

Please click here to download the Trinidad & Tobago National sub-Project Background document.

Progress and updates on Trinidad &Tobago’s National sub-Project

National Focal Point

Hayden Romano
Managing Director
Environmental Management Authority
email: hromano@ema.co.tt

National Project Coordinator

Alicia Aquing
Environmental Management Authority
email: aaquing@ema.co.tt

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