Tag Archives: Pollution

Major Environmental Engineering study slams Barbados Government over imminent death of last Mangrove wetland. Government destroying RAMSAR natural heritage site.

“The investment in the Sanctuary was supposed to be part of a sustainable environmental initiative, dependent on government leadership. As the largest private environmental stakeholder in Barbados, we continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain the Sanctuary, but we all have to face the fact that it’s Government who is killing the wetland.   The study shows that our environmental commitment and investment cannot withstand this assault.”

… Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary owner Peter Allard in a May 6, 2010 press release.

Unchecked pollution, government inaction puts migratory bird stop at risk

A new environmental study sharply critical of the Government of Barbados shows the key Graeme Hall mangrove wetland is disappearing due to outside pollution and poor water quality.

The Graeme Hall wetland is the last remaining mangrove in Barbados – a red mangrove forest that has existed for no less than 1,300 years. It is the only wetland in Barbados recognized internationally under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar). It acts as a Caribbean flyway stop for migratory birds between North and South America.

The extensive 800 page study (download PDF here) prepared for the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary by Environmental Engineering Consultants of Tampa, Florida shows the Sanctuary has suffered a 77 per cent reduction in salinity in the past ten years due to an inoperative government-run sluice gate. The huge reduction signals “an inevitable failure of the mangrove ecosystem” as freshwater flora and fauna take over.

The study also cites damaging factors including: dumping of raw sewage into the wetland instead of the sea by the South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant; contaminated storm water runoff originating from 1,150 acres of government-managed drainage systems; and, commercial and residential pollutants from adjoining properties.

“The government owned and operated sluice gate failure confirms our worst fears,” said Stuart Heaslet, an official with Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. “It means that as the mangrove forest dies, it will not grow back because freshwater plants are taking over.”

The original environmental investment in the Sanctuary was based on the area being protected as a brackish mangrove ecosystem.

“The study confirms that Government-controlled pollution is being dumped into the wetland.   Despite our formal offers of technical and financial assistance to government, there has been no response.  We can’t defend ourselves against pollution and environmental mismanagement outside our boundaries.  Bird counts are down, crabs are disappearing, and we are seeing environmental degradation everywhere.”

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary occupies 42 per cent of the Ramsar wetland at Graeme Hall, and is owned by Peter Allard, a Canadian investor and philanthropist who has put more than US $35 million into the 35-acre eco-tourism site to preserve the last significant mangrove woodland and wetland on the island.

“The investment in the Sanctuary was supposed to be part of a sustainable environmental initiative, dependent on government leadership,” said Allard. “As the largest private environmental stakeholder  in Barbados, we continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain the Sanctuary, but we all have to face the fact that it’s Government who is killing the wetland.   The study shows that our environmental commitment and investment cannot withstand this assault.”

… continue reading this major Environmental Engineering study by downloading the PDF from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

BFP Comments

We’ll have more to say tomorrow morning after we digest the entire study, but the first 20 pages leave us shocked, saddened and angry at the devastation being wrought by our government.

No doubt this will be a major discussion topic at next week’s Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development being held from May 9 through 12, 2010 in Bridgetown, Barbados. Here’s how the conference website describes the theme of this year’s meeting…

The theme for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s 11th Annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-11) is “Creating Opportunities through a World Class Sustainable Tourism Product”. STC-11 will focus on how to capitalize on opportunities to enhance and sustain our tourism product by identifying and valuing unique and indigenous aspects of our tangible and intangible heritage which need to be conserved for the enjoyment of our citizens and visitors.

Issues to be discussed will include the need for destination stewardship and conservation of our heritage assets in the face of various threats; the use of innovation and creativity to develop, interpret and market our heritage tourism products responsibly; the financing of sustainable tourism projects; enriching the visitor experience and the role of public, private and non-governmental organizations and communities in doing so.

Valuable learning opportunities will be provided through the sharing of local and international best practices. Delegates will also be able to participate in interesting discussions and study tours that will showcase how the host country, Barbados, conserves and manages its natural, cultural and built heritage and addresses associated challenges.

Yup, a tour to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary while reading a copy of the report should prove to be most interesting for the delegates.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

Do-Nothing Barbados Environment Minister Highlights DLP Government’s Impotence

A Sunday Morning Barbados Prayer

Dear Lord,

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.

Wuhloss!

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?

Nothing

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?

Nothing.

3/ Targeting of the Top 10 polluters on Barbados to document, educate, notify and then charge?

Nothing.

4/ New Environmental Legislation of any kind?

Nothing.

5/ Major educational and enforcement efforts introduced to stop the island-wide littering that is destroying our value as a tourist destination?

Nothing.

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.

Amen.

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.

Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment

Barbados Boycotts Abusive Irresponsible Oil Company: TO HELL WITH SHELL!

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

Boycott Barbados Shell Stations!

We the People, Declare…

1/ Fifteen Years Ago, Shell Spilled At Least A Half A Million Gallons Of Jet Fuel Into The Barbados Water Table. Shell Has Not Cleaned Up The Spill Or Compensated The Immediate Victims

shell-oil-pollution.gifFor the last fifteen years, since 1994,  Shell Oil has been avoiding responsibility for a pipeline leak that spilled at least a half a million gallons of jet fuel into the water table. Their “clean-up” effort has been laughable. This jet fuel has not gone away and even last year water wells within a few hundred feet of a beach were still filled with almost pure kerosene jet fuel. Shell Oil’s response has been to offer Barbados farmers less than one hour of Shell’s profits. Barbados farmers were offered US$2 million in total to be spread among the victims. Shell makes approximately US$3 million per hour.

2/Barbados South Coast Water Table Is Contaminated By Jet Fuel. Our Beaches Are At Risk.

Besides the farmers who lost the use and value of their lands, there has been a vast amount of damage to Barbados as a country. Our water table has been contaminated by Shell and our beaches are still at risk from the pipeline spill.

3/ After 15 Years, It Is Now A Proven Fact That Citizens Cannot Rely Upon Government To Hold Shell Oil Accountable or Force The Company To Clean Up Their Spill

Both the BLP Government of Owen Arthur and Mia Motley and the current DLP government of David Thompson have failed to hold Shell Oil accountable.  Neither the DLP nor the BLP governments implemented any laws that would penalise polluters and make them pay to clean up their mess. Neither the DLP nor the BLP government even passed a simple law compelling pipeline owners to make daily measurements and to report any leakage to the government!

4/ We Refuse To Give Credibility To Strategic Divisions In Shell’s Company And Marketing Structure: Shell is Shell

The current operators of the Shell brand in Barbados argue that their company is not the same company that owned the leaky pipeline. Our response is “Shell is Shell. We shall boycott the Shell brand on Barbados wherever it is found.”

Not One More Bajan Dollar To Shell – Until The Mess Is Cleaned Up, The Farmers Are Compensated, And Shell Acknowledges Its Duty To Pay For Any Future Damages Not Yet Evident.

Further Reading…

How Much Did It Cost Shell Oil To Buy Two Barbados Governments? Without Election Financing Laws, We’ll Never Know

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Disaster, Energy, Environment

Useless Barbados Environment Minister Should Be Sacked – Along With A Few Others

Some observers believe Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and Environment, may have too much on her plate and could well see her responsibilities reduced…

… from the Nation article New-Look Cabinet Coming

Can Anyone Name One Real Achievement In Eleven Months?

Oh yes, Minister Byer-Suckoo obviously has too much on her plate because other than a series of public speaking engagements she has accomplished nothing in eleven months. Nothing.

blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah - Byer-Suckoo is All Talk, Zero Action

blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah - Byer-Suckoo is All Talk, Zero Action

Let’s consider the Environment Ministry position, shall we?

New legislation to set handling and disposal standards for toxic chemicals like those that resulted in the closing of Louis Lynch school?

Nothing

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?

Nothing.

Targeting of the Top 10 polluters on Barbados to document, educate, notify and then charge?

Nothing.

New Environmental Legislation of any kind?

Nothing.

Major educational and enforcement efforts introduced to stop the island-wide littering that is destroying our value as a tourist destination?

Nothing.

Let’s Not Forget That David Thompson Didn’t Think The Environment Was Important Enough To Have A Dedicated Minister

The only real Environmental “accomplishment” of the DLP Barbados Government in the last 11 months has been HARMFUL to the environment. The DLP government passed a development plan that would allow commercial and residential construction on the Graeme Hall wetlands buffer zone.

That is the sum total of what your Barbados Government has accomplished in the last 11 months in respect of the environment!

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Filed under Barbados, Environment