Documentary explores how Trinidad and Tobago is trying to undo their carbon footprint

Over-Flow” is a short documentary film directed by American-Trinidadian filmmaker and In The Know Video Producer, Elizabeth Ramjit. In October 2018, Ramjit traveled to Trinidad and Tobago right when the torrential downpours and floods that would destroy nearly 80 percent of the country had only just begun.  

The documentary explores accountability in the Caribbean nation where a lack of environmental regulations and a culture of littering exacerbated the natural disaster. 

“A waste characterization study was done and Trinidad and Tobago generates over 700,000 tons of waste per day,” Sian Cuffy-Young of Siel Environmental Consulting Agency says in the film. “85 percent of it is recyclable. How much do we actually recycle? 1 percent.” 

Gary Aboud, an environmental activist member of Fishermand and Friends of the Sea, explains how the government cut the Long Range Forest Reserve to build a highway. The construction led to excess water washing off the cleared area. But because environmental impacts were not considered when the drainage system was made, Sangre Grande and Cumuto flooded. 

“Trinidad and Tobago has one of the highest carbon footprints per capita on the planet,” Aboud says. “So there is built manmade developments on a local level that doesn’t consider proper planning regulations and capacity of inflicting infrastructure on the one hand. But then we are also net contributors to our own demise.” 

“Over-Flow” also focuses on groups trying to change the culture like Trod868 — an acronym for Trying to Reduce Our Deposits. The organization makes people more aware of their littering by exposing them to nature. Carib Glass, one of the only large corporations in the country that incorporates sustainability in its culture, is also featured in the documentary.

“If we don’t start changing our actions from now,” Cuffy-Young says at the end of the film. “God knows what will happen. Come on, Trinidad and Tobago: Think! And then after you thought about it, do the right action.”

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