Global Partnership on Waste Management

Trinidad and Tobago

Submitted by Ministry of Housing and the Environment
Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
1. Hazardous waste
2. Municipal solid waste
3. Industrial waste
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Policy and regulatory
2. Social
3. Institutional
Narrative summary
Trinidad and Tobago (Ministry of Housing and Environment)’s responses to the needs assessment survey reveal that there are very few waste management laws in force. Of the waste streams surveyed, only MSW is currently covered by regulations. Draft regulations for hazardous waste and draft policies for Integrated Solid Waste Management are currently being developed, but policy and regulatory measures remain a very high priority area for capacity building across all waste streams. The problems of low public awareness and unclear responsibilities of public institutions will need to be addressed when regulations come into force. The responses suggest that the highest-priority waste streams for better management are hazardous waste, MSW and industrial waste.

Hazardous waste
Hazardous waste management is ranked as the highest priority area for capacity-building in Trinidad and Tobago. Hazardous waste legislation (Waste Management Rules, 2008; Integrated Waste Management Policy, under development) currently only exists in draft form; the enactment of legislation is thus a clear priority. The legal enforcement capacity of institutions is also an area ranked as highly important. The responses suggest that it is not yet clear which ministries and institutions will be responsible for hazardous waste management, while considerable funds also need to be sought for policy implementation. The private sector will be involved with waste management and disposal. Policy enforcement will thus need to include the registration and monitoring of participating firms, to ensure that technical capacity is adequate. Longer-term concerns also include implementing efforts on public awareness and education on hazardous wastes. Nevertheless, the enactment and enforcement of prepared legislation should be priorities for the country.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
MSW management is also considered a very important area for capacity-building in Trinidad and Tobago. MSW is currently referenced in some regulations that are limited in scope, but the waste is also expected to be addressed by the Integrated Waste Management Policy currently being drafted. It is thus again a priority for the new policy to be implemented. It is also very important that local communities participate in MSW management. The responses suggest that currently, the public is generally unaware or uninterested in MSW management. Commencing educational campaigns is necessary in order to involve waste generators in management techniques at source, such as waste segregation. Furthermore, a sound source of funding needed for the implementation of existing and proposed MSW management policies. Maintenance of equipment is poor due to a lack of funds, and the financial incentives offered by proposed MSW disposal projects so far have been poor. Proposed policies will finally need to be delegated clearly to institutions to avoid duplication or lapses in efforts.

Industrial waste
Industrial waste management is an important area that requires strengthening in Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, neither guidelines nor laws exist in the country regarding industrial waste. It is therefore a priority that the waste stream is addressed by environmental law, with regulations in specific areas such as private sector investment, technical processes, and the governmental institutions involved. Legislation will also need to find a solution to the lack of financial resources to encourage waste minimization and safe disposal. For waste generators, technical guidelines and economic incentives for waste minimization and safe disposal are currently absent. There is also the potential for capacity-strengthening in public education, as awareness of emission and pollution hazards is low.

E-waste legislation is a key area for capacity-building in Trinidad and Tobago. There is currently no legislation on e-waste, but the waste stream is expected to be addressed by the Integrated Waste Management Policy which is currently under development.  Specific regulations, concerning the private e-waste management sector, will still be needed. The private and public sectors will need to coordinate their efforts in the management of e-waste. Furthermore, awareness and understanding of e-waste across all levels of society is an area for improvement. E-waste segregation is non-existent, while technical guidelines for the private sector are not developed. Encouragement of e-waste management will require financial resources, and the capacity to secure funding will be required.

Healthcare waste
Healthcare waste legislation and guidelines are ranked as key areas for strengthening in Trinidad and Tobago. There is currently no legislation on healthcare waste, but the waste stream is expected to be addressed by the Integrated Waste Management Policy under development.  Technical guidelines for biomedical waste management, showcasing the best waste management practices or technologies available, also need to be developed. Funds will then be needed to implement or procure the technologies. Importantly, however, healthcare-related sectors need to be made aware of these practices if they are to participate in waste management at source. The development of policy and guidelines that are accessible to waste generators are thus considered priorities.

Waste plastics
With regards to the management of waste plastics, legislative and institutional capacities are areas that most require strengthening. The use of plastic bottles is expected to be covered by legislation currently being drafted. The waste stream will also fall under the scope of the Integrated Waste Management Policy under development. Enacting and expanding legislation so that the various types of plastics are regulated is therefore a priority. The enforcement of legislation will primarily require better coordination among responsible institutions given that waste plastics are currently managed by multiple ministries with ill-defined roles. Funds will be needed for the procurement of equipment to collect, recycle and dispose of waste plastics. Finally, community participation is also desired. In particular, the responses suggest that non-governmental organizations can be encouraged to engage in public awareness campaigns.

Organic waste and waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
Organic waste and WAB are not ranked as priority areas for capacity-building in Trinidad and Tobago. Nevertheless, there is no legislation regulating the management of either waste stream, while waste segregation, composting and the use of WAB as a resource is generally not practiced by waste generators. The enactment of policy and creation of public awareness are thus important focal areas if the management of organic waste and WAB is to be improved. There is also a lack of coordination between responsible ministries, as well as between ministries and private waste management firms. This situation would limit the potential effectiveness of policies enacted. Finally, adequate funding and technical capacity will need to be secured.