Tag Archives: Chemical Spills

Barbados: No rules about chemical use, storage, dumping

This week’s chemical disaster could have been prevented

This week’s spill disaster again reminds us that when it comes to environmental standards, laws and performance, our leaders have made us a third world country.

Sermac Laundry on Baxters Road burned over the weekend. That is expected: businesses and homes burn regularly. That’s why we have a fire service.

The problem with Sermac was that the building was full of drums of new and used chemicals – just waiting to make a routine fire into a neighbourhood-threatening disaster. With no laws the owners did what they wanted for years and now it’s our problem. Street closures, schools and businesses closed, ground water contaminated.

“[W]hat happens is that a number of laundries that use that chemical, since they don’t have an avenue for disposal, they store it on their premises …”

Roy Ward, head of RGW Consultants Inc, who was responsible for the clean-up at Sermac Laundry this week after the fire that destroyed the small business over the weekend. Source: Barbados Today (and thanks for the photo!)

For 21 years the BLP and DLP promised to put an Environmental Act in place. They lied and Barbados suffered. When Shell Oil had their massive pipeline spill of jet fuel and contaminated wells all along the pristine southern coast, there wasn’t a damn thing that could be done because there was no law against it.

When Fibrepol dumped gallons of acetone into the water table, there was no law against it.

When factories keep hundreds of rusty drums full of poison in a field with no fences and where children play, there’s nothing to be done because there is no law against it.

And when a dry cleaning company like Sermac stockpiles thousands of liters of poison in a residential area, there’s still no law against it.

To all our Environment Ministers, past and present, we give a hearty “Thanks for nothing.”

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