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Why should we be concerned about Nutrient Pollution?

by Yasim Edoo, Associate ProfessionalInstitute of Marine Affairs Many countries around the world are susceptible to different types of pollution. The countries of the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) are no exception. In recent times, the issue of nutrient pollution has come to the attention of many islands in the WCR and the question of “How can this form of pollution be mitigated?” arises but what is nutrient pollution?  Very simply put, nutrient pollution is the process whereby excess nitrogen and phosphorous compounds (nutrients) enter into water bodies and cause an excessive growth of algae leading to poor condition such as oxygen depletion (National Ocean Service)....

Training Farmers in Caroni One step towards Ecosystem-Based Management in Trinidad and Tobago

Prepared byDr. Darryl Banjoo, Deputy Director (Ag.) and ChemistInstitute of Marine Affairs Training and sensitisation go a long way in changing one’s mindset. Sometimes we do things without knowing the impacts on the environment and on ourselves.  Thirty years ago, farmers would often use agro-chemicals with no special clothing or masks. These chemicals were measured out and mixed by hand in buckets and those same vessels would subsequently be used for drinking water. Spraying of pesticides or weedicides with leaking spray cans that can also come into contact with the skin was common; farmers would simply wipe the chemicals off their skin and drink milk...

CAN YOU LIVE PLASTICS FREE?

By Aleisha Dennie, Research Staff Institute of Marine Affairs It is said that human beings have a complex relationship with our natural environment. We have become masters of exploiting our resources to the benefit of our social and economic well being. Food, fiber, biomass fuel, medicine, freshwater all derived from the earth’s bounty. It is a troubling notion though, that this supply is being threatened with every passing generation. Plastic is one of the major pollutants found in our environment to date. Improper disposal of plastic waste has led to the destruction of the aesthetic beauty of tourist destinations, the entanglement and suffocation of marine organisms...

Rethinking the Oceans: Transitioning to the Blue Economy

Farahnaz N. Solomon (PhD)Research Officer , Institute of Marine Affairs “There are more opportunities in the ocean than we can fathom”. Oceans cover 72% of the Earth’s surface. They support life by generating oxygen, absorbing carbon dioxide, recycling nutrients and regulating global climate and temperature. Oceans are important for fisheries, transport, and tourism – all traditional sectors of the Blue Economy. Highlighted at the 2012 Rio +20 Conference, the Blue Economy can be defined as 'the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of the marine and coastal environment'(1). Using the sea for economic gain is not a...

Living with Nature

Prepared byDr Anjani Ganase, Coral Reef Ecologist,Institute of Marine Affairs Around Trinidad and Tobago, there are Caribbean and Atlantic coasts. Our islands’ location along the edge of the South American shelf also provides exceptionally rich and diverse flora and fauna. Within the boundaries of our relatively small islands, the landscapes support wetlands, rainforests, savannahs, rivers and over 500 km of coasts. Our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extends over an area which is 15 times the combined land mass (approximately 5000 km2 of land). The ocean biome extends from sandy and rocky shores to coral reefs, offshore islands, sandy seafloor, the open ocean and mysterious unknown deep-sea...

The Water Quality at Maracas, Las Cuevas and Chaguaramas during the ‘Stay at Home’ COVID-19 Pandemic

Prepared by Sheldon Ramoutar, MicrobiologistInstitute of Marine Affairs The COVID-19 pandemic is currently changing the way we live our daily lives. No public gathering, and social distancing has been in effect since late March 2020 and has left our environment untouched. Around the world, reports have shown cleaner air quality in large cities and countries like the United Kingdom China and Spain due to the drop in carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions. There are also reports of better water quality in places like Venice and the Ganges as the watercourses are now more transparent with visible aquatic life. In Trinidad and Tobago, numerous beaches are continuously...

Tackling the Plastic Waste Crisis: The Basel Convention Plastic Waste Partnership

By Wendy Nelson, IMA Researcher Plastic waste pollution continues to be a significant environmental challenge for the world today. Each year, 320 million tonnes of plastic are produced, and more than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean, largely due to land-based sources or activities. In fact, it is estimated that 80- 90% of the plastic in our seas originates from these sources or activities. In 2018, the Ocean Conservancy, the organization that coordinates the annual International Coastal Cleanup, reported that over 97 million items were collected from over 35,000 km of coastline, and the top 10 ten items collected (over 21...

Fan coral and a school of goat fish

Our Solutions Lie in Nature

Attish Kanhai, Research Officer Institute of Marine Affairs In 1970, Theodor Geisel was fighting to save some Eucalyptus trees around his house from being cleared in order to make way for a suburban development. His idea was to write a children’s book about conservation that was not boring but entertaining. However, writer’s block got the better of him and upon his wife’s suggestion he travelled to Mount Kenya Safari Club where he was able to watch the animals along Kenya’s Laikipia plateau. Theodor Geisel was a children’s author of some repute, he could ill afford to have his work be substandard, and such an important message of...