A Sunday Morning Barbados Prayer
Please give us a government that will be able to announce actual accomplishments in the media – instead of a continual litany of half-baked plans, promises and musings about things everybody knows should have been addressed ten years ago.
Recently, Minister of the Environment Denis Lowe stated that the absence of legislation to govern the disposal of chemicals in this island, including those categorised as chemical waste, needs to be addressed.
Lord, after 14 years as Opposition and then 13 months as the Government of Barbados, one would think that Minister Lowe and his party might have long realised that Barbados has no environmental legislation or enforcement. One would think that the current DLP government might have been able to introduce and pass at least ONE piece of environmental legislation sometime in the past 13 months.
Dear Lord, as we the people of Barbados consider the past year, we have a checklist of simple things that Prime Minister Thompson’s government could have easily accomplished had they bothered…
1/ New legislation to set handling and disposal standards for toxic chemicals like those that resulted in the closing of Louis Lynch school?
2/ Petroleum pipeline standards that would require companies to measure transmission losses on a daily basis to detect pipeline leaks – to prevent another pipeline leak from going undetected for months as happened with Shell?
3/ Targeting of the Top 10 polluters on Barbados to document, educate, notify and then charge?
4/ New Environmental Legislation of any kind?
5/ Major educational and enforcement efforts introduced to stop the island-wide littering that is destroying our value as a tourist destination?
Dear Lord, PLEASE make the newspapers stop publishing stories about what our government is “thinking”, “intending” or “planning” to do. PLEASE make the newspapers publish only stories about what the government has actually done.
Only then, Lord, will Barbadians realise exactly how little their elected representatives really accomplish. Only then will Bajans start to demand real accountability from the so-called leaders who have accomplished absolutely nothing tangible – who produce fine words but no actual results.
People like Environment Minister Denis Lowe and the employees of the Ministry of the Environment.
Here is the sad article from the Barbados Advocate that again confirms Bajans are stuck in a never-ending bad dream where politicians keep making the same speeches year after year. We post the article in full because the Advocate destroys its archives every so often. One would think from Minister Lowe’s comments that no other government in the world has studied or implemented environmental legislation of any kind and that Barbados will be inventing the science from scratch! Please, Minister Lowe… stop your gosh darn talking and call up Britain or California and copy their rules. PLEASE just make something – anything – happen!
WILL THE GOVERNMENT PLEASE STOP TALKING AND JUST BLOODY-WELL DO SOMETHING!
Local chemical waste disposal laws lacking
2/6/2009 (Online story link here)
THE absence of legislation to govern the disposal of chemicals in this island, including those categorised as chemical waste, needs to be addressed.
Speaking at the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Workshop, Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, said there are several gaps in the existing legal infrastructure for chemicals management, while pointing out the need for the implementation of relevant regulations.
Reminding those persons gathered at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday of the fire at Baygon in 2007, he said this caused quantities of pollutants to be released into the air and soil.
“Pollutants that had the potential to harm the respiratory systems of those who inhaled them, and impact negatively on our water quality,” he stressed.
He stated that incidents such as these underscored the adverse affects that chemicals, including those persons used everyday, could have on the environment and therefore on human health.
“More importantly, these incidences have accentuated the need for us to review, evaluate, reform and, where necessary, develop mechanisms to minimise any threats posed by the use or disposal of chemicals to the environment,” he added.
Commenting on the current state of chemicals management in the island, Lowe pointed out that there was room for improvement regarding its practice and its framework.
Lowe opined that not enough was being done to sensitise the public on the proper handling of chemicals, and called urgently for an education and awareness program to be implemented.
“All too often, persons can be observed spraying pests control agents around their homes wearing shorts, without protective clothing or equipment, seemingly unaware that contact between some of these chemicals and the skin can lead to medical conditions such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea,” Lowe said, adding “This lack of awareness has even been exhibited by pest control professionals and others who perform such functions.”
Pointing to the SAICM, he said this offered a unique opportunity to assess the handling of chemicals in the island, while devising approaches to address them.
According to him, Barbados therefore would be proactive in strengthening the knowledge, abilities, skills and behaviour of individuals and improve institutional processes for the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle, minimise risk to human health and the environment, strengthen enforcement measures and encourage national laws and regulations regarding chemical management. (JM)