Waste Management – What you need to know


Remarks delivered by the Chairman of the Environmental Management Authority – Ms. Nadra Nathai-Gyan at the AMCHAM webinar

Ms Nadra Nathai-Gyan - EMA ChairmanIt is most pleasing to welcome you to this webinar on the newly operationalised Waste Management Rules, 2021 (WMR) and the Waste Management (Fees) Regulations 2021 (WMFR).  We thank AMCHAM for this opportunity to collaborate and share vital information on this critical legislation with its membership.

In 2019 the United Nations Environment Assembly informed that a circular economy means a fundamental change of direction, a shifting of paradigms of how waste and waste management is perceived. The UN advocated the development of models where products and materials are “designed in such a way that they can be reused, remanufactured, recycled or recovered and thus maintained in the economy for as long as possible”, resulting in fewer resources utilised and less waste produced. Why this urgency to develop a circular economy?  In 2022, the World Bank elucidated that “waste generation rates are rising. With rapid population growth and urbanisation, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 73% from 2.24 billion tonnes in 2020 to 3.88 billion tonnes in 2050”.  With this comes serious health, safety, and environmental consequences.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are thus urged to accelerate the transformation towards a circular economy. The Waste Management Rules, 2021 is intended to improve national waste management, of hazardous and non-hazardous waste and form part of the subsidiary legislation developed over the years to support the Environmental Management Act, thus ensuring a more robust legislative framework.

The Rules follow on our successful iCARE project, which is changing the national landscape on recycling and sustainable consumption. As evidence of this project’s impact on culture change, we witnessed the recent launch of the private-led Every Bottle Back initiative, where persons can return plastic bottles and redeem some cash. This aligns well the primary goal of the iCARE project, which is to transition to island-wide initiatives led by enterprising entities and catering to a diversity of recyclables. This is truly the right direction as we seek to re-evaluate waste and, in fact, re-define waste as a valuable resource, critical toward mainstreaming sustainability. We encourage other private sector entities to champion similar initiatives.

EMA & AMCHAM Waste Man img2

Consequently, we acknowledge that there are commercial opportunities and benefits in the transformation toward a circular economy, not only in terms of GDP growth, development, and competitiveness, but also in terms of engendering economic resilience and self-sufficiency.  As such, we are urged to consider how we can incorporate more recyclable products, reusable materials, and more sustainable consumption into our existing business models.

We note that transitioning toward a circular economy accords with the National Environmental Policy, Priority Area 1, ‘Protecting Environmental and Human Health through Pollution Control’, and Priority Area 4, ‘Evolving a Greener Economy; as well as with Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2030 while aiming to fulfil Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 12, ‘To Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’.  The operationalising of this legislation is therefore a hallmark moment not just for us at the EMA but for the entire country and we invite you as members of the private sector to build strategies into your business models toward sustainability and a circular economy.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you.