Waste Management - What You Need To Know!

Good morning, everyone.

Thank you for joining us for today's Webinar: Waste Management: What You Need To Know? hosted by AMCHAM T&T and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

I am Melissa Pierre – Trade and Policy Specialist at AMCHAM T&T.

Do you understand your Responsibilities Under THE WASTE MANAGEMENT RULES, 2021 AND THE WASTE MANAGEMENT (FEES) REGULATIONS, 2021 that recently came into effect on May 31st?

What do these new rules mean to you and your companies?

These are a few of the questions that we are going to be addressing in today’s session. The hope is that you would leave today with much-needed clarity and more straightforward answers to any questions or concerns you may have about these new laws.

To help us with this, we are delighted to have our partners at the Environmental Management Authority who will be joining us today to shed some light on the new laws.

As you are already aware, these rules strive to support the environmentally sound management of waste while helping to reduce waste pollution in Trinidad and Tobago. At AMCHAM T&T, we see these new laws as representing a bright and positive step forward in our country’s sustainable environmental development agenda.

With the successful passage of these two pieces of legislation, AMCHAM T&T would like to congratulate the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), the Ministry of Planning and Development, and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for moving towards creating a strong regulatory and legislative environment to protect and preserve the country’s natural environment.

We also applaud these agencies for their hard work and unwavering commitment to advancing the local environmental development agenda. At AMCHAM T&T we see measures such as these strengthening T&T’s position to meet the targets outlined in the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – especially SDG 12 which talks about responsible consumption and production around how the management of our shared natural resources and disposal of toxic waste and pollutants are treated.

With over twenty-five years behind us advocating for efficient HSE policies to keep employees safe in the workplace and measures to protect and preserve our environment, you can understand why these issues are a matter of priority and importance for us at AMCHAM T&T.

Our HSE committee – one of the largest, and dare I say, BEST, in the region is made up of stakeholders representing over 40 local and multinational companies operating in T&T. These are professionals who are driven by a strong desire to ensure that we are doing everything possible to safeguard people and simultaneously protect our environment while we perform our jobs and manage our companies. Hence, why AMCHAM T&T fully supports this legislation which provides a powerful safety net over our environment from hazardous and non-hazardous waste by making sure the treatment, recovery or disposal of waste is done in accordance with the law.

We know this issue is not localized only to our nation or our region. The burden is not only placed on our people. Waste Management is a global concern that poses alarming threats to human health and the environment everywhere. Therefore, the responsibility to act and show leadership on this very real global threat lies in the hands of every individual, every business, and every nation.

It remains our collective duty to save our environment from the toxic effects of inorganic and biodegradable elements present in waste which can cause water contamination, soil erosion and air contamination.

It is also our collective duty to ensure that waste is recycled and managed efficiently so that it does not end up in landfills and oceans and poses a threat to both human health and marine life.

And we have a responsibility to be law-abiding citizens and operate in accordance with the law while we manage our businesses. Therefore, we must make every effort to both understand and comply with the rules outlined in these laws.

However, if there is uncertainty about the new rules, we will not achieve full compliance. So, while AMCHAM T&T fully supports the implementation of these laws in principle, we are also seeking further clarification on specific issues outlined in the legislature which is why today’s session is so important.

For example:

We would like clarification on how the fees are calculated for continuous generation of liquid waste (oily water) and for discrete solid waste (scrap metals)?

Also, while we agree with the polluter must pay principle, we note the exorbitant fees imposed on SMEs. Will consideration be given to SMEs who may not have the income to supplement the cost of the permit?

We are also concerned that the current suite of insurances applicable to businesses in T&T is not adequate to cover compensation for clean-up and restoration if improper waste management practices are not adhered to, or in the event, an accident occurs.

How is the EMA planning to engage the Insurance Sector concerning coverage for Indemnity Insurance for companies involved in the generation and handling of hazardous wastes?

Also, we are seeking further guidance concerning if the waste has properties that make it fall under more than one waste code in Schedule 1. Companies will require clarification on these issues and others so that compliance is met, and we achieved our objectives.

AMCHAM T&T has enjoyed a very collaborative and engaging working relationship with the EMA over the years. We are very grateful for the partnership today to host this educational webinar around the waste management rules and fees. We hope today’s session will address the concerns raise and serve to make the wider private sector more aware of the legislation, and what is expected of them to achieve compliance.

Thank You.

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