Guyanese urged to ‘do your part’ to tackle pollution, protect tourism product 

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As the world observes Consumer Rights Day under the theme “Tackling Plastic Pollution,” Guyanese are being reminded of the relevance of this issue and to join the campaign to reuse, recycle, reduce, rethink and refuse plastic.

In her message to mark the occasion, Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond recognized the need for a national conversation on effective approaches for encouraging more sustainable production of plastic and more conscious approaches to the utilization of plastic products.

“Guyana is recognized globally as one of the leaders in eco-tourism. To maintain this esteemed status requires that we act responsibly on how we treat the environment,” she said.

Likewise, Walrond used the opportunity to encourage local tourism operators to be guardians of the environment, urging a national commitment to the reduction of the use of plastic.

“Tackling pollution requires a collective effort. We all have to appreciate the value of environmental preservation and prepared to do our part,” the Minister added.

To mark the occasion, the Department of Consumer Affairs supported by the Guyana Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) and the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) hosted a webinar on tackling plastic pollution.

The panellists included Communications Officer of the CCAC, Alison Parker; Director of the CCAC, Feyona Austin-Paul; Coordinator and Co-Founder of Seawalls and Beyond, Dwayne Hackett; Biologist and Member of the Guyana Marine Conservation Society, Maria Fraser; Environmental Officer- Communications Programme of the EPA, Ladonna Kissoon; and Lucreatia Hubbard, Consumer Affairs Officer, Education of the Consumer Affairs Department.

Hackett, who along with a team from Seawalls and Beyond spent the last eight months raising awareness of the issue, was very vocal on the need for change during the webinar on Monday.

He said although there have been improvements, especially with his work along the Kingston seawall, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Hackett said the culture of using waterways to dispose of trash needs to stop immediately. “It is not just out of sight, out of mind,” he said while reminding of the impact on marine life.

“It has become too normal, the sight of trash at our seashore is too normal. Too normal that children have to play in that trash.  We have been cleaning and we are happy to see people enjoying the space even as we continually encourage and appeal,” he added.

Among his call to action is for citizens to:

  • Take their garbage home
  • Ensure a functional and workable waste collection system
  • Recycle as an option
  • Enforce existing laws against pollution
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