Strengthening the Water Taxi Operators Capacity to Reduce the Amount of Garbage Entering the Coastal and Marine Environment in and around the Tobago Cays Marine Park.
Strengthening the Water Taxi Operators Capacity to Reduce the Amount of Garbage Entering the Coastal and Marine Environment in and around the Tobago Cays Marine Park.
Users of the marine environment in the Grenadine islands, both locals and visitors have significant impacts on marine habitats and the overall biodiversity due to inappropriate practices (one such serious problem is the willful dumping of garbage into the sea and nearby coastal vegetation – especially the mangroves) and lack of awareness. This practice can have substantial long-term implications for sustainability in the Grenadines.

Awareness of the economic and social value of the marine environment and acknowledgment of the need to protect and preserve sensitive ecosystems has led the Water Taxi Association to acknowledge the need for the implementation of a garbage collection system and marine litter education program. A garbage collection system and Marine litter education programme are useful tools, not only for protecting and conserving threatened coastal and marine areas, but also for promoting the direct involvement of local communities and marine resource users in the management.

Currently, there are no regulations or organized garbage collection system that is present within the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP). Garbage collection in the Cays is very informal where untrained boat operators would collect garbage from yachters with a promise to dispose of it on Union Island. However in many, if not most cases the operators would not live up to their promise of disposing it on Union Island but rather throw it in the mangroves, sea or beaches along the way.

As a result, the SGWTA saw the need to implement a proper garbage disposal and collection system within the Cays since water taxis operators are in constant contact with tourists and visit the Cays on a daily basis. In gaining the support and approval from key stakeholders the SGWTA met with the Management of the TCMP who agreed to give the Association the sole responsibility of garbage collection within and around the Cays and would work along with them to implement a monitoring programme to evaluate effectiveness and compliance during the course of the project.

Communication was also made with the Solid Waste Management Authority who gave their verbal and written support for the project adding that they will conduct training to ensure people operating the system are properly trained and certified in solid waste disposal among other key aspects.

On Union Island, in the main town of Clifton there is already an established and existing garbage collection receptacle which was constructed by the TCMP with support from other agencies some years ago and now needs to be refurbished in terms of repainting and repairs of the main door among other minor repairs. This receptacle would be used by the SGWTA to dispose of garbage coming from the Cays. The SWMA has contracted a private business on Union Island who is responsible for transporting garbage from the receptacle to the landfill. As a result, SGWTA has met with the contractor and an agreement was made between both parties that a small fee would be paid on a monthly basis which would go towards transportation cost.(see budget local travel).

The project overall goal is to protect the marine environment by reducing the amount of marine litter released into the waters of the Grenadines and to ensure that this project can continue beyond the GEF-SGP cycle. In light of this the SGWTA has decided to approach two prominent resort islands in the southern Grenadines (Petite St. Vincent and Palm Island) who currently does not have a formal garbage/collection system but will either burn or have boat operators / or their boat transport garbage from their resorts to Union Island. The Association would also develop a business plan for such a venture to ensure it’s feasible and can sustain itself in the future.

This project also aims to do this through building the capacity of the SGWTA to operate a garbage collection system, to design and implement an effective garbage collection and disposal system in and around the TCMP within the first ten months of the project and to develop an education and awareness programme to support the collection system for the TCMP.

The Southern Grenadines Water Taxi Associations Inc (SGWTA) plans to utilize GEF SGP funds to implement a garbage collection system for the TCMP. The TCMP authority has already given verbal approval to the Association to who will work along with the SGWTA to implement a monitoring and policy programme for the project.

The implementation system will include a structure, fees, awareness and policy programs to inform all users and to get their buy in. The SGWTA also plans to use GEF SGP funds to purchase an appropriate boat and engine which will be used to transport the garbage from the TCMP to Union Island daily, renovate/refurbish a collection receptacle on Union Island for the disposal of the garbage collected from the TCMP, purchase the equipment needed and hire staff to commence the operation.

In addition, SGWTA plans to use GEF SGP funding to develop and implement a community education outreach awareness program to inform the community and its members to comply with the new system. The program will also address habits and perception about the marine environment and garbage disposal.

The SGWTA will work closely with the TCMP, Sustainable Grenadines Inc., The Solid Waste Management Authority, and the Tourist Bureau in implementing this project. The project will provide them with the knowledge and skills to be effective stewards of the environment through teaching others and through their own environmental practices. It will provide the water taxi operators with the skills required to enhance their livelihoods, thereby giving them greater equity in the benefits to be derived from the resources that they are expected to conserve.

This project is expected to result in the reduction of the impacts on the marine environment in the Grenadine Islands, particularly those on coral reefs. Improved marine ecosystems will lead to enhanced livelihoods and community well-being in the Grenadine Islands.

This is because livelihoods are inextricably linked to the marine environment through tourism and fisheries. It will also enable water taxi operators to protect and conserve the marine environment while providing safe and reliable services and attaining an equitable share of the benefits from the natural resources of the Grenadines
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Project Snapshot

Southern Grenadines Water Taxi Association
Saint Vincent and Grenadines
Area Of Work:
International Waters
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 50,000.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
Many people in the Grenadines depend on the sea as their major source of livelihoods. Reduction in pollution will promote healthier reefs and sustained fisheries as well as other tourism related livelihoods
Gender Focus
The composition of the Organization includes 30 males and 5 females. The project seeks to include both gender and create equal capacity building and livelihood opportunities for men, women and youths.
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Grantee Contact

Mr Jeremiah Jones Jones


Front Street
Clifton , Southern Grenadines , VC0470

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Tasheka Haynes


P.O. Box 2338, SeaBreeze Bldg. Arnos Vale