Government prepares action plan to address beaches with poor bathing water quality

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 15:15

The Ministry of Planning and Development says an inter-ministerial committee has been established to advise on an action plan to address the problem of sea water polluted with faeces and other pollutants. 

The ministry says it has taken note of the concerns raised by citizens on social media.

The following is a statement issued by the ministry.

"The State of the Marine Environment Report (2016) launched by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), which is part of the mandate of the Ministry of Planning and Development, has garnered much interest in conventional and social media.

Among the many important findings that has caught the attention of citizens is the fact that bathing beach water quality was found to be poor at several popular areas frequented by recreational users, tourists and the general public including:

Near the mouth of the Maracas River, Maracas Bay
Eastern section of Las Cuevas Bay
Mid bay to the western section of William’s Bay, Chaguaramas in the wet season
Western section of Chagville Bay, Chaguaramas after heavy rainfall
Welcome Bay, Chaguaramas in the wet season
South of King’s Wharf, San Fernando
North of King’s Wharf at Spring Vale Point and off the iron ladder south of the seawall, San Fernando
North of Yacht Club, San Fernando

The Ministry of Planning and Development, and other Government agencies have noted with great concern these and other findings of the IMA’s Report and are taking steps to treat with identified problems in order to arrest further degradation of our coastal and marine space.

To this end, Cabinet has agreed to an action plan for the period 2017-2020, for implementing the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Policy Framework which is aimed at mitigating negative impacts on the coastal and marine environment. An inter-Ministerial Committee has been established to guide the implementation of this action plan and to monitor and report on progress in this regard.

Among the objectives of this action plan is the promotion and enhancement of pollution control and waste management activities to ensure minimal adverse impact on human health and on coastal ecosystems. Improving watershed management, promoting installation of appropriate sanitation/waste management systems in coastal communities, regulating unplanned development and boosting the capacity of regulatory agencies so they may be better able to encourage compliance to legal provisions will all take place in order to meet this objective.  

The IMA will also continue its monitoring and reporting programme on the water quality of these bathing beaches.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago will continue to champion transparency and the use of objective science in identifying issues and making effective policy interventions. It also remains committed to enhancing society’s knowledge of the protection and conservation of our marine and coastal resources and engaging all interested stakeholders in efforts to do so."