Trinidad and Tobago has a new legal framework for the management of the nation’s waste, according to Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis in a news release yesterday.
In what she described as another positive leap forward in its environmental development agenda, Robinson-Regis said the Waste Management Rules, 2021 and the Waste Management (Fees) Regulations, 2021 were laid in the House of Representatives on July 2 and in Senate on July 5.
The minister said that the Waste Management Rules, 2021 aim to establish a legal framework to improve national waste management, including hazardous and non-hazardous waste, by requiring generators and handlers of waste to apply for and obtain permits prior to carrying out their waste-related activities.
The rules become operational on May 31, 2022 and apply to the generation, processing, treatment, packaging, storage, transportation, collection, disposal, recovery, recycling or other activities related to the treatment of waste other than radioactive waste.
The rules are intended to support the control of waste disposal methods while reducing waste pollution in Trinidad and Tobago.
Through the new rules, waste generators are clearly defined as permit holders who produce hazardous waste or waste above a regulated quantity.
Generators are obligated by the rules to implement measures reducing waste generation; exercise environmentally sound management of waste; segregate hazardous waste from non-hazardous waste to facilitate handling and ensure that treatment, recovery or disposal of waste is conducted in a facility that is in accordance with the rules.
Section 26 of the Environmental Management Act Chap. 35:05 (“the EM Act”) provides, inter alia, for rules to be made law subject to negative resolution of the Parliament. The EMA led the process of consultation and development of the Waste Management Rules, 2021 and the Waste Management (Fees) Regulations, 2021 in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), core principles of the National Environmental Policy (NEP), 2018, and national policies and commitments on the environment enshrined in Vision 2030.
In addition, the Ministry of Planning and Development said, Waste Management (Fees) Regulations, 2021 will establish fees for the following actions:
• Application for and renewal of a waste generation permit.
• Annual waste generation.
• Application for and renewal of a waste-handling permit.
• Application for the variation of a permit.
• Application for the transfer of a permit.
• Extracts from the Waste Management Register.
In explaining the role of the Environmental Management Authority in the rules and regulations, the authority’s chair, Nadra Nathai-Gyan, said: “Similar to the EMA’s introduction of the Water Pollution Rules, 2019 and the Water Pollution (Fees) Regulations, 2019, the authority shall embark on an integrated communications, education and public awareness programme across multiple platforms to engage and enlighten stakeholders on the environmental advantages of the Waste Management Rules, 2021 and the Waste Management (Fees) Regulations, 2021.”
Further, Nathai-Gyan congratulated the staff of the EMA for their role in the establishment of these rules and encourages the national community to embrace the benefits of the suite of subsidiary legislation provided for in Section 26 of the EM Act, namely the Certificate of Environmental Clearance Rules, 2001; Environmentally Sensitive Species Rules, 2001; Environmentally Sensitive Areas Rules, 2001; Noise Pollution Control Rules, 2001; Air Pollution Rules, 2014; Water Pollution Rules, 2019; and now the Waste Management Rules, 2021 and the Waste Management (Fees) Regulations, 2021.
The Planning and Development Minister also adds that waste generators will now, through these rules, be held accountable for their treatment of the environment.