Geologists on mission to help reduce pollution in T&T

With T&T being recognized as one of the most polluted small island states in the world, one group of geologists are determined to their part to build environmental consciousness among the youth.

President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Trinidad Chapter Amrit Cooblal believes if young ones learn to love the earth they will influence their family to do more to recycle and to stop pollution in T&T.

Speaking exclusively to Guardian Media during an interactive workshop held at the Windermere Private School in San Fernando on Wednesday, Cooblal said his team has been holding sessions on geoscience at schools.

"We hope to build awareness. Over the past few years, we have done career days where we go to high schools and primary schools and teach pupils about the wonders of geoscience. We show them how geoscience is related to oil and gas. We have been able to take it to another level as we are part of the STEM sessions sponsored by Shell. We are able to teach them about geology and get them to love how our planet was formed," Cooblal said.

He said these sessions have made students more appreciative of earth's geological makeup.

"This is important because when you get an appreciation of geoscience you can see what nature is about and then you can see the beauty that our island has to offer. You learn to appreciate it more and to take care of our environment," Cooblal added.

He said there was an urgent need to preserve the environment at a time when plastic pollution was taking over mass expanses of the Caribbean sea.

"During our sessions, we talk about what's on the surface of the Earth and what's below the surface. It is important for the public to be aware of geoscience. Oil and gas have driven our society and its criminal if people don't know about our geology. It is all-around learning for citizens," Cooblal added.

He said T&T's geological makeup is a source of fascination for many researchers around the world because of our geological diversity.

"Many people are fascinated by our mud volcanoes but they only know a few main ones like Piparo, Digity and Devils Woodyard. There is the Point Anglias volcano in Los Iros and L'Eau Michel volcanoes in Penal which are big tourist attractions now," Cooblal added.

Another geologist Tanuja Balkeran also agreed that environmental consciousness was lacking among many locals.

"It is important to teach our youths how everything was formed. Give them a timeline and show them how what they do today it will impact on the future of our world," Balkaran added.

During the workshop, 150 students from Windermere aged three to 10 years were given various activities. The nursery and kindergarten pupils used playdough to make formations of the earth. They received dinosaurs as rewards. The old students engaged in puzzle building and rock identification, some of which were thousands of years old.

Principal Laureen Debance-Misir said the geoscience session generated excitement and appreciation for the environment among her staff and students. She encouraged the team to conduct more sessions in the future.

- by Radhica De Silva. Photo by Kristian De Silva.