Tag Archives: recycling

Vicky Merrick, Nicole Garofano and all at The Future Centre – Barbados Environmental Heros work without the backing of laws

A marvelous article about the Future Centre’s leadership in recycling appears in the current edition of the McGill Reporter – the newspaper for McGill University in Montreal Canada.

Writer and undergraduate student Sibeal McCourt spent some time in Barbados last fall during a Field Study Semester and she was some impressed with Vicky Merrick and Nicole Garofano.

Sibeal McCourt

“…I also did an internship with the Future Centre, a local, not-for-profit organization promoting sustainable/environmental initiatives in Barbados. They were focusing on recycling while I worked with them.

Vicky Merrick and Nicole Garofano, who run the Future Centre, are so energetic and driven that you can’t help but be swept up in their mission to get Barbadians (locally referred to as Bajans) to recycle. Under the tutelage of Vicky and Nicole, my eyes were opened to the serious waste management issues present in Barbados. Their main landfill, the Mangrove Pond Landfill, is so overflowing that Bajans refer to it as “Mount Stinkaroo.”

Recycling in the Shadows of Mount Stinkeroo

The article goes on to talk about Miss (?) McCourt’s surprise that the Barbados government is not showing leadership in recycling and that we lack a government recycling programme…

“Coming from Canada, where recycling is government-run with scheduled pickups every week, I took waste management for granted. I thought that Vicky and Nicole were simply trying to expand on an already present recycling program, or educate people on how to recycle more efficiently. As it turns out, there is NO state recycling program in Barbados.”

Barbados: A country with no Environmental Laws

Although Miss McCourt’s article shows a very positive image of the folks who do such good work at The Future Centre and of Barbados and Bajans generally, left unsaid is the big truth about Barbados: Our country has no environmental legislation.

Oh, we’ve been promised environmental laws by every government since we gained independence back in 1966, but so far promises is all we have. I wonder if Miss McCourt is aware of the Shell Oil pipeline spill in Barbados where our impotent government has done nothing while Shell ruined the land and water and then pulled out leaving a big mess?

Shell could only do that because we have no environmental laws.

So thanks to Sibeal McCourt for her positive article and well-deserved congratulations to Vicky Merrick, Nicole Garofano and all those heros at The Future Centre. We hope that Sibeal will return to Barbados in 2010.

We also hope that the long promised Environmental Legislation is delivered soon by the David Thompson government and that it doesn’t have so many holes in it that a Shell tanker could motor through.

Well, Environment Minister Lowe… where is the legislation?

Further Reading

McGill Reporter: Recycling in the Shadows of Mount Stinkeroo


Filed under Barbados, Environment

Nevis Gets A Free Tirebaler Through Canadian Generosity – But Will They Change The Oil?

Tire Bales Are Only 5% Air - What Can We Build With Them?

Tire Bales Are Only 5% Air - What Can We Build With Them?

From the Barbados Sanitation Service Authority blog, we learn that the Canadian Government has assisted in providing a tire baler to Nevis. What’s a tire baler? Glad you asked. According to Touch the Earth Construction

“Tire-bales are “big rubber bricks”. They’re made in an hydraulic press, exerting extreme forces to compress approximately 100 tires into a “brick” 2-1/2′ x 5′ x 5′, weighing ~2,000#, wrapped with (5) .113 inch dia. steel wires pre-formed into square-knot ends which are hooked together when the press reaches it’s compression capacity.  The press is then released and the bale is completed.  The bale is now the density of most wood, weighing in at roughly 50 pounds per cubic foot and containing only 5% air.”

Tire bales are used for building retaining walls, housing and a dozen other uses. Even if the bales are not used for a purpose, they significantly reduce the amount of area necessary to store tires – and the tires do not act as mosquito breeding grounds because bales do not hold water.

So good for Nevis. I hope their tire baling programme works out. We learned about tire baling through the Barbados Sanitation Service Authority blog as written by (I think) Ian Bourne. Another source of information on tire balers is Encore Systems of Minnesota USA, who say they are the largest manufacturer of tire baling machines (website here).

But Will The Oil Be Changed?

You’ve met those people who never change their engine oil? Usually they don’t purchase the auto themselves, because if they did, they would look after it. They never change the oil and they wonder why their engines die after two years.

That pretty well sums up all these special projects where people and governments receive machinery for free. They don’t appreciate how much money it took to purchase the equipment and they don’t look after it.

Maybe it is the fact that so much of our government’s budget is “borrowed” and donated from the first world as government charity that we as Bajans have a cultural problem in that we don’t see that government equipment, buildings, infrastructure and charity programmes have to be paid for by someone.

Not to mention that the words “preventive maintenance” do not appear in the Bajan lexicon. Why do you think that Barbados public utility vehicles are in as rough shape as we see them in? Why do we have so many buses on the road in poor condition?


What Happened To The BLP Government’s 3 Million Dollars Of “Free” Weed-Wackers?

One last thought: Remember when the Mottley/Arthur Government decided that the way to save the young men hanging about was to get them into their own businesses by purchasing week-wackers and other landscaping equipment for them and giving (as opposed to loaning) equipment to them?

How many of those weed-wackers are still operating? Our guess… zero.

Does anyone know who these young men are and IF they are still “in business” with the equipment that was given to them?

How Many Weed-Wackers And Lawnmowers Can You Buy For Three Million Dollars?


Filed under Barbados, Environment