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Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington Debates In The House

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (GISL) -- Human health is intimately linked to the environment. This according to Councillor Dr. Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development during her maiden contribution at the Assembly Legislature on Thursday, 23rd March, 2017.

Dr. Carrington gave her contribution to a motion that called for the Tobago House of Assembly to lead the way in phasing out the use of polystyrene foam products on the island, promote the use of more sustainable and ecologically friendly alternatives and support the process for discouraging the production, importation and use of polystyrene foam products.

Dr. Carrington argued “a lot of what happens in the environment impacts our health and as good stewards, we need to protect this Island.” Dr. Carrington supported her arguments with credible information published in several academic journals. She shared that waste characterization studies were undertaken in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The situational analyses revealed that there has been a steady increase in plastics at our waste disposal facilities; polystyrene is included in the category of plastics. “In 2012, 22.9% of waste was categorised as plastics and in 2013, 30.8% of waste was plastic” she shared. E-waste categorized under other waste was 3.8 % in 2013.

Dr. Carrington argued “there is a significant impact of polystyrene on human health…there is research that links the inhalation of nanoparticles of polystyrene to cancers”. She shared that polystyrene leeches into the food when heated causing neurotoxin and carcinogenic effects, it affects the central nervous system when there is chronic exposure and it causes acute health problems such as irritation of the skin and eyes. Dr. Carrington declared “we are in the business of chronic disease prevention and this is one way of pollution prevention”. Dr. Carrington ended by reaffirming her strong support of the motion.

The motion was moved by Councillor Kwesi Des Vignes, Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment. Councillor Des Vignes, Councillor Nadine Stewart Phillips, Secretary of Tourism and Culture, Assemblyman Marisha Osmond, Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Chief Secretary and the three members of the opposition contributed to the debate. After the debate, a division of votes was called and the motion was passed by the majority.