The shared DLP and BLP legacy continues
Denis Kellman, MP for St. Lucy, was sworn in on Tuesday, January 4th as the new Environment Minister. The post was previously occupied by Denis Lowe, who was hospitalized a few days ago in critical condition with respiratory problems.
Barbados does not have any Environmental Protection Act or standards for the handling, use and disposal of hazardous substances because successive DLP and BLP governments haven’t bothered to enact any in 44 years of independence.
Each year for the past 20 years successive Environment Ministers promised to implement an Environmental Protection Act but did not do so. Minister Denis Lowe promised the act would be made law in 2009 and again in 2010. BLP Environment Minister Liz Thompson told the same stories throughout her tenure and then wasted some 200 million dollars on a doomed-from-the-start foolish project to build a landfill on shifting soil in the Scotland District.
This lack of environmental laws, coupled with government policies that do not recognise the importance of green space and environmental planning has led to wholesale development on the west and south coasts. The blockage and destruction of much of the natural watershed has resulted in serious and continuing flooding in many areas at the slightest rain.
We have no mandatory recycling or local pickup. There is jet fuel contamination of wells on the south coast and we’re dumping raw sewerage into the RAMSAR wetlands while selling off green space to politicians’ developer friends. Previously protected environmentally sensitive land at Graeme Hall has already been re-zoned by the DLP to allow development.
Policy for an ongoing Environmental Disaster: More Cars and More Roads
Barbados has an effective public transportation policy of more cars on more roads and there’s always lots of money for new highways, but none for mass transit. That’s not environmentally sound, but it is profitable for the companies that fund the two big political parties.
As our new Environment Minister, Denis Kellman will undoubtedly make some wonderful speeches as soon as he learns all the necessary buzz-words that result in non-accountable international grants and loans for “environmental projects”. As an example, one of Denis Lowe’s finest moments was when he participated in handing out United Nations funded environmental comic books to school children.
We’re sure that Minister Kellman will get the hang of it.
Deadly Asbestos “a concern” as Fairchild Street Market about to be demolished
It’s a bit ironic that on the same day our new Minister of Environmental Destruction is sworn in, we see a story in the paper that local residents surrounding the about to be demolished Fairchild Street Market are worried about the health impact of asbestos.
We understand their worry because exposure to asbestos has been shown to cause various lung diseases, cancers and warts. Worst of all, you can’t even see the fibres that kill:
“Most respirable asbestos fibers are invisible to the unaided human eye because their size is about 3.0–20.0 µm wide and can be as slim as 0.01 µm. Human hair ranges in size from 17 to 181 µm in breadth.
As asbestos fibers get smaller and lighter, they more easily become airborne and human respiratory exposures can result. Fibers will eventually settle but may be re-suspended by air currents or other movement.”
… from Wikipedia Asbestos
And so the nearby residents should be worried, but perhaps not as much as the poor untrained workers who will take the demolition job because they need the money. They’ll work without proper protective equipment, without proper training and with zero government regulations or oversight. And where and how will the asbestos be disposed of? With no regulations or Environmental Protection Laws, your guess is as good as the government’s.
But doan worry: everyting gin be fine, fine, so fine!