Port of Spain, September 7, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – On this year's International Day for Clean Air for Blue Skies, Trinidad and Tobago takes centre stage, showcasing its resolute commitment to addressing air pollution and climate change. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is championing efforts to achieve cleaner air and a healthier environment through the work of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), and the Ministry of Health (MOH) and in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Globally, air pollution poses a grave threat to public health, with millions of premature deaths attributed to its effects annually. Trinidad and Tobago is no exception, as it was estimated that 622 deaths in persons over 30 years were attributed to ambient air pollution in 2019. This was driven by factors such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Simultaneously, the nation's vulnerability to climate change is evidenced by rising temperatures, changing patterns of rainfall and frequent flooding, which impact key determinants of health, including clean air and safe drinking water.
In response to these challenges, Trinidad and Tobago has emerged as a regional frontrunner, orchestrating a multi-sectoral approach to combat air pollution and climate change. Central to this endeavour is the "Road Map for Integrated Action on Air Pollution, Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) Mitigation Action and Health in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago." Consistent with this year’s theme, #togetherforcleanair, the Road Map was developed collaboratively by PAHO, EMA, MOH the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and supported by the United Nations Environment Program – Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNEP-ROLAC), this roadmap offers a comprehensive strategy to drive transformative change.
This roadmap revolves around five strategic action lines, targeting areas of regulatory enhancement, infrastructure development, emission reduction strategies, awareness building, and monitoring and evaluation. By strengthening air quality regulations, investing in sustainable technologies, implementing emission reduction strategies, fostering awareness, and maintaining robust monitoring mechanisms, Trinidad and Tobago aims to align with World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines and Sustainable Development Goals.
Trinidad and Tobago's leadership in addressing air pollution and climate change serves as an inspiration to the entire Caribbean region. It is shown by its commitment to emphasizing the significance of collaborative action in the of cleaner air and healthier communities.
The commitment of Trinidad and Tobago has also been illuminated through its participation in global initiatives such as the BreatheLife campaign. Additionally, the nation stands as a grant recipient of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), further underscoring its dedication to improving air quality, reducing short-lived climate pollutants, and safeguarding public health.
As Trinidad and Tobago commemorates the International Day for Clean Air for Blue Skies, the nation's tireless efforts stand as a testament to the power of collective action in fostering sustainable change. By working in synergy with global aspirations, Trinidad and Tobago's commitment to cleaner air and a healthier environment not only protects its citizens but also sets a compelling example for the world.