In a world where millions of animals are being burned to death by bush-fires and large masses of ice are melting expeditiously, the Turks and Caicos Islands have been taking blows against the opponent: Climate Change.
Since the decade started in 2010, bodies of Government have changed but both have taken strikes at adverse environmental effects in favour of the TCI. These include attending and implementing strategies from conferences on climate change, partnering with charities or adjusting energy use. Likewise various companies within the Turks and Caicos Islands have been making greener decisions.
Reduction of Fossil Fuels
In 2014, the government led by Hon. Dr. Rufus Ewing signed a memorandum to join the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge. The Ten Island Challenge was part of a regional effort to reduce the country’s production of fossil fuels. Expanding the use of renewable energy was a big part of this initiative, mainly to improve the production and efficiency of this.
Actions have been taken to monitor the coal processing policy and allow for a greener production. The burning of coal can lead to many adverse effects like deforestation and changes in climate.
Protecting the Coral Reefs
As global warming and water temperatures rise, the possibility of bleaching events on the coral reefs increase. Therefore the coral reefs are at risk. Turks and Caicos being home to of the largest Barrier reef systems in the world, it is imperative that the reefs are protected.
In 2014 the partnership with Reef Check Foundation, a coral reef monitoring program was set up in the country. Workshops were carried out in various islands to help scuba divers identify and monitor corals accurately.
Over the years other charities like the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund have been in partnership with the government and independently taking strides to protect and conserve our reefs, essentially becoming more green.
Introduction of Recycling
While on a large scale recycling is not implemented, citizens have been involved in personal waste reduction. Whether in the form of using tires for gardening or reusing plastic bags efforts are being made. The DECR started a ‘WE SAY NO TO STRAWS’ campaign in 2018 for Earth Day, that notable initiatives such as Fish Fry took part in.
A private company TCI Waste Disposal introduced recycling in 2017. Many large companies within the islands use these services.
Sustainability in society has quickly become trendy but that is not the case for the tourism industry within the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Hotels such as Pine Cay are self proclaimed green hotels doing a wealth of things like recycling and having a no car policy. The Wymara Resort has equipped their rooms with an Energy Management System where your room key is the electricity switch, and a high-efficiency central air-conditioning system reduces consumption by 30%. COMO Parrot Cay, is home to a large coconut plantation as part of the resort’s drive toward self-sustainability.
Even companies whom are not tourism related are becoming more sustainable. As far back as 2012, Scotia Bank TCI took a step towards being more green by making all accounts information available via their internet banking.
FortisTCI, Clinton Foundation and the TCIG collaborated in 2018 to pioneer for cleaner energy practices. According to the Minister of Home affairs, Public Utilities and Transportation, Honorable Goldray Ewing, “TCIG is committed to developing a clean energy future for the Turks and Caicos Islands that will decrease the islands’ reliance on imported fossil fuel, reduce the cost of electricity for households and businesses, and demonstrate the country’s willingness to play a lead role in efforts to combat climate change. This agreement represents the first step towards that goal.”
Solar energy has forever been a talked solution to reducing fossil fuels. FortisTCI introduced a Utility Owned Renewable Energy (UORE) Program, which they offered to customers a chance to lease their home or business roof space to them for the installation of a grid-tied PV system. Perks? The participating customers would receive a monthly credit on their electricity bill for their rooftop space and an annual payment of profits from the PV system’s generation.
These are few among other clean energy initiatives in the TCI.
Eradication of Non-biodegradable plastics
In January 2019, the Go Green initiative by the TCI Tourist Board introduced the war on single-use plastics. This took form by implementing law that banned imports of single use plastic bags. The ban on the use of single use plastic bags by retailers later came into effect on May 1, 2019.
In December 2019, the restriction of the importation of Polystyrene products and plastic straws was enforced. Stated in a Press Release from the Office of the Premier “The ban aims to reduce TCI’s waste going to landfill, land and marine pollution and to reduce the country’s contribution to Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels worldwide.”. To read the details of the ban and alternative methods click here.
There is a lot to be improved and implemented but we commend the Government, charities and citizens for making an effort to keep the Turks and Caicos Islands ‘Beautiful by Nature‘.
Did you know that the Barrier Reef in Turks and Caicos is under threat?? Read about it here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-51035398
Find out what you can do to help fight climate change from your backyard. Scientists say we have less than 10 years left to reduce the effects of global warming. Therefore, volunteer or donate to charities like the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund or read here.
Earth Day is on 22 April so look out for initiatives in your community as that day approaches.