A mangrove replanting exercise was launched by the Ministry of Planning and Development and spearheaded by the Institute of Marine Affairs on June 23-24, 2018 in commemoration of World Environment Day 2018.
Over 1,000 #mangroves seedlings with a mixture of red, black and white were uprooted from the Caroni Swamp on 23rd June with the assistance of two members of each organization who participated. Two members from Cashew Gardens joined close to 30 persons from various groups including the Institute of Marine Affairs, Central PathFinders, and TEDxPortofSpain.
Promptly at 7am (we were told to be there by 7am sharp as the tide would be out) on Sunday morning we approached the still snoozing village of Brickfield. On the way we could see tall coconut trees and bright blue skies in the horizon, indicative of the seaside being minutes away. All groups gathered at the mudflats of Brickfield, Waterloo to begin transplanting the seedlings.
Mangroves are perfect barriers to protect our coastlines and are one of our first lines of defense against the impacts of climate change.
Deputy Director of the Institute of Marine Affairs, Dr. Rahanna Juman addressed the team of volunteers and outlined the various reasons this activity was taking place in Brickfield. She stated that this was needed as the country has lost 50% of the mangroves over the years due to human activity. Other benefits of mangroves are the reduction in coastal erosion, water filtration, and protection against climate change effects.
Two of our youths who took part shared their experiences.
Kevin (19 years) stated,
My experience taking part in such an event was breath taking, being one of the ways to help in our own little way in protecting the environment. In the future my kids would be happy to know that I helped prevent something dangerous.
Annisha (15 years old) stated,
My experience with planting mangroves in Brickfield mudflats, Waterloo was a good one. It is so shameful to see how Trinidad is becoming downgraded. By voluntary work, Trinidad can become a better place and by planting these little mangroves we can prevent soil erosion and save the beauty of the seaside. I would like to encourage the rest of Trinidad to get involved in saving the environment.
Overall, the experience was life changing as the unity and selfless giving found in voluntary work was all around us. We dug holes in the mud using our feet (the boots were too heavy and people kept falling over) and tried not to smash the baby crabs as they scrambled for their lives. In the end we transplanted over 1,000 seedlings and we ended the activity feeling fully complete knowing that 10 or 20 years from now we would have left a footprint in the shape of a mangrove tree.
If you are a regular follower of our blogs you will know what comes next as we are of the view that the #Kaizen philosophy should be practiced, always.
This activity was advertised on TV, radio and social media and although the response was fairly good, it could have been better. Case in point comments were made by MP Ramona Ramdial and residents of the Brickfield area about an unawareness of the event so an increased effort is needed in spreading the word.
Directions to the event and a contact person with their respective number should have been shared with various groups as one group from the West got lost and missed the entire process.
Regular follow up of the activity is needed so as to replicate elsewhere and also to monitor the success of the replanting. This should be overseen by those in authority or like minded citizen scientists.