Sometimes I am getting ready to write a story, and I find that there is a background story that must first be told. My research for another story turned up this workshop:

“WORKSHOP FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE PROTOCOL CONCERNING POLLUTION FROM LAND-BASED SOURCES AND ACTIVITIES (LBS PROTOCOL) IN ENGLISH SPEAKING CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES - GROS ISLET, ST. LUCIA - 24 – 26 JULY 2006″ link

I like making positive criticism in an effort to make a beneficial contribution. That is why I was shocked after reading this report. I was shocked because the report is a reflection of not only my own views, but those of many environmentalists. There is one omission.

Ingrid Lavine

Here is what Ms. Ingrid Lavine, the Senior Marine Pollution Officer of the Environmental Protection Department of Barbados had to say: (I have added my comments in Navy blue.)

  1. Rapid coastal development is taking place in her country, particularly along the southern and western coasts, which are showing significantly higher levels of marine degradation. Issues such as sedimentation from construction, agricultural run-off, sewage and nutrient run-off from golf courses affect ground water and marine water quality and that deterioration is being exacerbated as the existing gully network transfers all inland pollutants to the marine environment.
  2. The three main concerns regarding water quality include
    1. nutrients,
    2. sediments
    3. and bacteria.

    Editor’s notes on 1. and 2.: Construction can affect the environment in several ways. One of these is to speed up the flow of water, as water flows more slowly through grass and bush than it does over roof and concrete. Fast flowing water carries more sediment that slowly flowing water. When these sediments include sewage and toxic waste, the danger increases. According to this report, ground water and beaches alike are already being contaminated.

  3. Restrictions in the release of sensitive water quality data to the public was identified as a major constraint.
    Editor’s note on 3.: The public needs to know what the situation is. No matter how good or how bad it is, the public must know so that they can act accordingly.
  4. While Barbados has not yet acceded to the LBS Protocol, the Government has already enacted two environmental acts,
    1. the Marine Pollution Control Action Act (MPCA), which characterizes environmental sources of pollution and mitigation strategies,
    2. and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA).
  5. Areas which require improvement include: the strengthening of data management, accessibility, the strengthening of policies, and, outreach.
    Editor’s note on 3.: Yes, please! Manage the data, police the dumps and let us know what the score is!

Commonsense

It is commonsense that if you dump your refuse over an aquifer, the water quality will deteriorate, and that water runs along the gullies to the sea.

I read the quoted paragraph (in the box) below about three times to attempt to reconcile this report with the actions of the previous Government, the Barbados Labour Party. While the BLP deserve credit for the West coast sewage project, they failed to regulate dumping and encouraged golf courses. While golf courses are named as polluters in the paragraph below, dumping is not. This is the omission.

Hopes for Environmental Reform Dashed

With the recent election of the Democratic Labour Party, we were hopeful that there would be respect for nature. The announcement that the Greenland Dump project was abandoned raised hopes higher. Then the DLP minister issues a retraction! If nature is not given respect, it will demand respect.

Environmentalists will not Fade Away

The environmentalists in Barbados will continue to protect the environment. It is clear that the Environmental Protection Department of Barbados understands the nature of pollution. The current DLP Government is in possession of the facts. Will the DLP adopt environmental policies in accord with these facts?


Full quote:

Ms.Ingrid Lavine, Senior Marine Pollution Officer of the Environmental Protection Department of Barbados, opened by stressing that rapid coastal development is taking place in her country, particularly along the southern and western coasts, which are showing significantly higher levels of marine degradation. Issues such as sedimentation from construction, agricultural run-off, sewage and nutrient run-off from golf courses affect ground water and marine water quality and that deterioration is being exacerbated as the existing gully network transfers all inland pollutants to the marine environment. The three main concerns regarding water quality include nutrients, sediments and bacteria. Restrictions in the release of sensitive water quality data to the public was identified as a major constraint. While Barbados has not yet acceded to the LBS
Protocol, the Government has already enacted two environmental acts, the Marine Pollution Control Action Act (MPCA), which characterizes environmental sources of pollution and mitigation strategies, and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The Implementation Assistance Project has had the following
outcomes: draft regulation for the MPCA, a table of prohibited pollutant concentrations, a registry of pollutants, public consultation regarding the implementation of the MPCA, CZMA and LBS Protocol, a monitoring programme, and, capacity building. Government agencies, such as the Shipping Agency,
Manufacturing Agency and Tourism Agency, as well as the general public, have already been consulted. Barbados has an existing marine water quality monitoring programme which includes beach bathing monitoring programmes that test for bacterial levels, and marine testing which includes a variety of water
quality parameters and indicators. Capacity building has included the training of staff, the implementation of monitoring capabilities, GIS workshops and statistical analysis techniques. The MPCA was partially based on the LBS Protocol and they share many similar objectives. The Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) is the focal point for the activity and they have already received some funding from UNEP CAR/RCU for the development of a draft NPA and a BMP impact assessment. Areas which require improvement include: the
strengthening of data management, accessibility, the strengthening of policies, and, outreach.

Related:Richard Goddard finds no Thrill on Lonesome Hill
Joe’s River, the Rainforest and the Dump
Barbados Sinking Under Pile Of Garbage