Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde. (GP)

The youth are being encouraged to lead the charge against ocean and plastic pollution and other environmental challenges.

Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde, called on youth to champion the cause to rid Barbados of pollution, and become active players in the fight.

He made this call as he addressed the hybrid Fourth Leadership Dialogue under the Stockholm +50 National Consultations at the Hilton Barbados Resort, recently. It was held in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment and National Beautification and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment.

“I implore the young persons in this room to continue your advocacy; be active participants; be activists.  Put all your efforts in ensuring that your neighbour does the right thing…as it relates to protecting the environment,” he said.

He also urged the youth to lead the charge against ocean and plastic pollution.  “You must champion the cause to rid this country of the plastics that would find their way into the food chain on to your table causing all kinds of negative problems. You must be the active players in that fight,” Mr. Forde stated.

The Minister also urged them to challenge themselves as it relates to the environment, and become involved in areas such as dendrology, horticulture, as they are the things that would save the country.

He added that biodiversity must now become the conversation going forward, as protecting the environment and mitigating against the vagaries of climate change and were important.

Mr. Forde further called on all Barbadians to take definitive action in their daily lives to allow the earth to breathe.

He pointed out that Barbados produced about two million tonnes of carbon dioxide, of which 1.6 million was attributed to the energy sector.

But, he suggested, the time had come for persons to do things differently to reduce energy dependency and burning fossil fuel, to create a cleaner and greener environment.

The Minister outlined that actions to reduce the carbon dioxide footprint and reduce ozone depleting substances, include turning off the car when not driving; turning off the lawnmower when not in use, and only using air conditioning systems when needed.

“Our decisions here now will determine the future of the unborn child. Our decision today is a decision that will combat the existential threats that we face,” Mr. Forde cautioned.

UNICEF Representative, for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, emphasised this point, noting that while children would bear the biggest brunt of the impact of climate change and environmental pollution, they were also active agents of change, and could become advocates for climate action and environmental rights.

Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Valarie Cliff, also urged the youth to let their voices be heard because this was their world which they were inheriting.

She also noted that Barbados joined Trinidad and Tobago in participating in the global initiative which represented an opportunity for the to present on an environmentally resilient future for Caribbean small island developing states.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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