Ten percent of nearshore and marine environment protected
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira congratulated the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and said the future and the future of Bahamian children will depend on the society’s ability to adapt and change the mindset of people.
“The Bahamas National Trust has a long history of pioneering the innovative educational programmes for young people,” Ferreira said during the BNT Discovery Club Leaders Symposium held at SuperClubs Breezes on Cable Beach Monday.
“Because you believe as we do that we will never have the change that we need, the change we want to see, the change that will bring about a better Bahamas — cleaner air and plastic-free oceans – unless we impact a critical mass of our young people.
“I congratulate the Discovery Club, who have been on the frontlines, as it were, since 1995 on the frontlines of a war which requires all hands-on deck.”
Ferreira pointed out that the Discovery Club helps its members to acquire the knowledge, values and skills needed to respect nature and the environment.
He said that he was well aware of the initiative’s contributions, with 60 Discovery Clubs on nine islands throughout The Bahamas.
He also noted that his Ministry is doing its part.
“That is why we brought transformational change at the New Providence Sanitary Landfill, resolving once and for all the vexing issue of landfill fires,” Ferreira said. “That is why we installed approximately one megawatt of renewable energy (solar) at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, with other installing at Anatol Rodgers and T. G. Glover (schools) slated to come on line before the end of the year.
“We know and understand our moral obligation as a Small Island Developing State to reduce greenhouse emissions, whether methane from landfills or carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.”
Ferreira said society should not accept inaction… in the face of “the greatest threat to mankind’s existence in a generation.”
“There is more to come from the Ministry of the Environment and Housing as we push forward with the ban on single-use plastics and Styrofoam; doing our part to combat microplastics,” he said.
Ferreira assured attendance that his ministry would not rest until the remaining 10 percent of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are declared, which would raise the nation’s protected areas to 20 percent of its near-shore areas.
The minister also noted that Bahamas National Trust Act Amendment is also a priority.
“This should give us hope, hope that we can put aside any differences we may have, and work together for a better tomorrow,” Ferreira said. “I want everyone in this room to know that the next generation is watching.”
He pointed out that as he visited schools across The Bahamas as part of the ministry’s “Be a Hero” initiative, young people were very concerned about their environment.
According to Ferreira, the students knew instinctively that something was wrong and their future was at stake with respect to the environment.
Ferrreira stated that he believed, as those present did, that the “hour is upon us” and they must act together to ensure cleaner air, safer food and water, that would sustain the hopes and dreams of the next generation.
“Between the BNT and its Discovery Clubs and the Ministry of the Environment and Housing, we have found that common purpose,” he said. “I encourage you all to draw strength from the fact that we are here to support you, to work with you, to put our shoulders to the wheel alongside you as we build a better Bahamas.”