Message from Barbados Most Visible Environmentalist

Submitted by Kammie Holder, Environmentalist

Our objectives are, Advocacy, Education and Conservation while promoting the Circular economy.

Over the years, the Future Centre Trust has undertaken such projects as, No Plastic Bag Day, Planting of Trees along the highways, Trees that feed initiatives, Clean Up Barbados and Future Trees where tourist and locals can purchase a tree and monitor its progress and view its location via Google maps.

Our environment must be ours to own and protect.  Each one of us must be custodians and protect our vulnerable Land, Sea and Air space.

As a Small Island Developing state, we are threatened by rising sea levels, prolonged drought, indiscriminate burning, overfishing, improper chemical usage, vehicle exhaust pollutants, excessive use of Single Use Plastic Bags, climate change immigration and high food import bills.  We must therefore join with our CARICOM neighbours and collectively let our voices be heard internationally.

The aforementioned perils must be of concern to all, for money in the bank equates to nothing if our air, water and sea are all polluted.

Currently, our selfish consumption patterns are creating an environmental time bomb for future generations, thanks to the extremely high usage of plastic cups, plastic straws, single use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.

Plastic bags are mistakenly ingested by fish and other animals clogging their intestines which results in death by starvation, clogged wells, broken pumps, increased flooding and increased vectors for mosquito breeding.

Who is to blame for the increased mosquito breeding sites and the clogged drains? Where does the money come from to replace the South Coast Sewerage Plant reverse centrifugal pumps? Where does the real blame lie when raw sewerage flows in our streets on the South Coast? 

The hundreds of thousands of dollars used to clear clogged drains and wells are funds that could be better spent by the government to provide services for the poor and vulnerable in our society.

We are quick to blame the government of the day for many of our problems. Perhaps it`s a lack of understanding the role civil society must play in ensuring good governance in modern democracies.

 

The Future Centre Trust after much concern from the public and discussion with retailers as well as other stakeholders recently embarked on a sensitization programme to highlight the dangers of Single Use Plastic Bags to Barbados.

It was agreed, that a deterrent fee would be the best way to encourage persons to move away from the Single Use Plastic Bag and embrace alternatives such as reusable shopping bags, boxes or if purchasing a few items take them by hand.

So far the results, have been amazing with some retailers seeing as much as a 95% drop in persons demanding plastic bags. Old habits are often very hard to break for change is uncomfortable but often times necessary.   Changing from smooth stones to toilet paper was a cost to consumers, but was a move to bring humanity out of the dark ages and a healthier choice.  Just as moving from horses to cars thanks to the vision of Henry Forde, despite the higher cost of vehicles the gains to society and travel far outweighed the loss to ranchers.

Today, I am pleased to report to the country that some plastic bag retailers have repurposed their companies and are importing, sustainably harvested bamboo spoons, bamboo forks, paper straws, paper cups all made from recyclable materials. We also have food vendors playing their part, who for love of country are giving discounts for persons bringing their own food containers, which is not anything new. In addition, a bag making cottage industry is evolving using old clothing, cane lily and marine sail off cut material. Another indication, Barbados can save money by embracing the Circular economy which eliminates the need for such ill-conceived financial albatross such as the $700 Million Cahill project designed to make money on the backs of the poor in the .abundance of sunshine and the availability of much grant funding for PV installation.

 

We hear the concerns about the Optional  Single Use Plastic Bag Deterrent Fee, but are we be deterred by naysayers and the pessimist whose ethos is to always keep court by finding fault but never to lift a finger to make a difference or make the world a better place. We say no!

Let me be emphatically clear and state for the records, the Deterrent Fee is not a tax and is not collusion or Price Fixing by retailers. Our casual research has shown retailers  are offering deterrent fees from as low as 10 cents up to 30 cents, some are also offering reusable  shopping bags for free,  providing discounts for persons bringing their own shopping bags while others are offering reusable shopping bags for as little as 3:99 each.  All efforts are being made to accommodate shoppers as retailers are sensitive to their needs.

Also it is hoped retailers who are not interested in this Single Use Plastic Bag Reduction Initiative would be kind enough to contribute towards the good work of the Drainage Unit and the Vector Control Unit for the most at risk persons to flooding and mosquito borne ailments live within the highly populated urban corridors of St Michael, Speighstown and Christ Church.

 

Many have spouted untruths for their own selfish popularity gains as only the Government of Barbados through legislative instruments can introduce a tax.

Let me say without contradiction Barbados is behind in providing strong environmental legislation and has failed to even ratify Rio Principal 10 Declaration and is yet to pass an Access to Information Act, as access to information is a requisite of the Rio Principle 10 Declaration.

Rwanda, Antigua, Guyana, St Vincent & Grenadines, Grenada and British Virgin Island, China, France, Australia and British Virgin Island have either instituted outright bans, deterrent fees or intend to.

Even India within the last 72 hours banned all plastic bags with a thickness of 50 microns or less.  What the retailers in Barbados have done is what is happening the world over, led by NGO`s and retailers when governments fail to act in the country’s best interest.  To quote from the Sydney Morning Herald “NSW government has continued to resist calls to implement a statewide plastic bag ban, after the country’s grocery giants announced they would cease stocking single-use plastic bags in 2018”

 

 

 

It must also be noted the Future Centre Trust is cognizant of the concerns for Single Use Plastic Bags to be used for garbage disposal.

However, these same bags impact the machinery operations at the expensive landfills in an island with a limited land mass. We all know of the stench which results when the machinery becomes broken at the Mangrove landfill.

We can seek short term solutions like Cahill burning garbage idea to our detriment in a country where we cannot even mitigate vehicle exhaust emissions or we can embrace sustainable practices like Community Recycling aka as Core Network where communities like Fortesque, Ocean City, Ruby Park and Atlantic Shores all have arranged for free, the monthly collection of sorted electronics, paper, magazines, appliances, glass, plastics and card boxes. Laziness nor indifference should never be used as an excuse for failure to do the right things.

The Future Centre Trust`s aim is to promote the proper collection, segregation, recycling, repurposing and composting of household waste. Therefore, let me say the Future Centre Trust is not interested in persons paying 10 cents or even 75 cents what we wish for is that persons be thoughtful enough to opt to refuse the Single Use Plastic Bag, refuse to pay  and use alternative methods. How hard is it to act in the best interest of protection of our vulnerable environment for our own wellbeing? Think on why our near shore fish stocks have all but disappeared and its connection to what we do on land. Perhaps, we will soon understand when we have to pay just as much as $20 for a pound of fish the same cost of a Rib Eye steak. Who will we blame then?

Let me say we are grateful for those who have accepted to be the change they want to see and leave a legacy of an environmentally safe country for future generations.

 

I remain you ever humble passionate environmental servant.

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22 Comments on “Message from Barbados Most Visible Environmentalist”

  1. Vincent Haynes August 17, 2017 at 11:20 AM #

    Kammie

    Getting special marked bins for recycling to be picked up by reto-fitted trucks with the mechanism to lift and empty the bin will in one fell swoop remove the present need for plastic bags for garbage. Note this method is in operation in most developed countries.

    Not sure how you will convince govt to stop a manufacturer from making plastic in Bim

    Like

  2. chad99999 August 17, 2017 at 11:30 AM #

    The issue is not so much the use of plastic bags but their disposition. If the school system trained the next generation in the proper sorting and disposal of garbage, including plastic bags, that would help a lot.

    I always feel uneasy when some environmentalist wants me to pay extra fees and taxes. Then there is the fact that paper bags and paper cups don’t offer the same level of service as plastic.

    And then the germs. All these re-usable utensils and containers can kill you with bacteria and viruses that you can avoid with disposables.

    Like

  3. David August 17, 2017 at 12:28 PM #

    Vincent the FCT is an NGO where do you propose the funding should come?

    Like

  4. Vincent Haynes August 17, 2017 at 12:44 PM #

    David

    It has to be a govt sanctioned activity……hopefully in talks with the EU the minister responsible will ask a question or put it on the urgent request list of the new govt next year.

    Like

  5. Vincent Haynes August 17, 2017 at 12:46 PM #

    David

    Waste offer | Barbados Today
    Waste offer
    One of Barbados’ most powerful international partners has opened the door for the Freundel Stuart administration to seek funding for a waste management project here, to include recycling. Head of…
    barbadostoday.bb
    https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/08/15/waste-offer/

    Like

  6. David August 17, 2017 at 12:51 PM #

    Vincent a big problem we have is everyone wants to go to heaven but do not want to die.

    We have a serious waste problem.

    We have to fix it now!

    Like

  7. Pachamama August 17, 2017 at 12:58 PM #

    Kammie Holder no doubt means well and is possibly one of the better Bajans.

    However, the most recent studies are showing that the environmental emergences we face are far worse than you maybe estimating

    Scientists who have added the notion of accumulating the effects of all the environmental calamities are casting a vastly different picture that the ‘steady state’ of collapse we were use to.

    In short, they want to argue that previous statistics were wrong. That we have much less time to act. That the tipping points cannot be contained. That by their measurements we are already way past all the established tipping points.

    The words of the prophet Bushie are on the wall. Are we reading them?

    Like

  8. Pachamama August 17, 2017 at 1:27 PM #

    On the environment of cricket

    And we have no real animus against short men, generally

    But how are so many short men getting to play for the West Indies. LOL

    Like

  9. Pachamama August 17, 2017 at 3:20 PM #

    How the f**k can we get EIGHT stinking Bajans in a WI team at a time when standards in the Caribbean are at their lowest, in test cricket.

    This is bare Shiite!

    Like

  10. Yhap August 17, 2017 at 7:05 PM #

    GENEVA (Reuters) – China notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday that it would stop accepting shipments of rubbish such as waste plastic and paper as part of a campaign against “foreign garbage”.

    The import ban, which will enter into force by the end of 2017, will also cover slag from steelmaking, and many kinds of waste wool, ash, cotton and yarn.

    “We found that large amounts of dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes are mixed in the solid waste that can be used as raw materials. This polluted China’s environment seriously,” China’s WTO filing said.

    “To protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health, we urgently adjust the imported solid wastes list, and forbid the import of solid wastes that are highly polluted.”

    China is a major importer of waste. Last year it imported 7.3 million tonnes of waste plastics, valued at $3.7 billion, accounting for 56 percent of world imports.

    Apart from Hong Kong, the biggest sources of that plastic waste were Japan and the United States, which accounted for roughly 10 percent of the volume each, according to data from the International Trade Centre, a United Nations-WTO joint venture.

    The same two countries are also the main sources of scrap paper going to China each year, accounting for half of the almost $1 billion business between them.

    China’s speedy industrial development has seen it struggling to regulate waste disposal, leading to toxic waterways and cities blanketed in smog.

    China plans to conduct a nationwide survey of pollution sources, and has urged local authorities to speed things up by launching local investigations by the end of July, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Monday.

    Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Gareth Jones

    Like

  11. Hants August 17, 2017 at 7:18 PM #

    How are Bajans going to get rid of organic waste without using plastic bags ?

    Fish guts, vegetable peelings etc.

    Like

  12. Bush Tea August 17, 2017 at 7:45 PM #

    @ Hants
    Composting…?

    Like

  13. Hants August 17, 2017 at 8:03 PM #

    @Bush Tea,

    Composting is great but Bajans will have to be “encouraged.”

    They also need to grow vegetables instead of flowers. lol

    Like

  14. Hants August 17, 2017 at 8:09 PM #

    Harvey is going to lash wunna. Expect some flooding.

    A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
    * Martinique
    * St. Lucia
    * Barbados
    * St. Vincent and the Grenadines

    Like

  15. Hants August 17, 2017 at 8:49 PM #

    At 8 p.m., the centre of Tropical Storm. Harvey was located near 12.9°N, 56.5°W or about 205 miles (325 km) east of Barbados.

    The system is moving westward at 18 mph/ 30 km/h and on this track, the centre is expected to pass near or over Barbados at around 8 a.m. on Friday.

    Like

  16. David August 18, 2017 at 12:12 AM #

    What a wonderful message from prime minister Ralph Gonzales to his people.

    Hint hint!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Derek August 18, 2017 at 11:39 AM #

    Pachamama August 17, 2017 at 3:20 PM #
    How the f**k can we get EIGHT stinking Bajans in a WI team at a time when standards in the Caribbean are at their lowest, in test cricket.
    This is bare Shiite!

    You stinking turd. You speak of young men taking a positive direction in their lives and not on the blocks rolling spliffs and running guns. A stinking comment by a stinking person. Stinking Pacha mamma boy!

    Like

  18. David August 18, 2017 at 1:40 PM #

    Derek aka Fan aka Commentator aka waiting etc

    Like

  19. FearPlay August 18, 2017 at 7:51 PM #

    I just wish that when the trees were planted along the highway that someone had thought to plant coconut trees, cherry, avocado, breadfruit, golden apple, sugar apple, plum, duncks, gooseberry, mammy apple….I guess you get the message by now. People would steal them – so what? There would be so many productive trees that could provide a livelihood for so many rather than what is currently there. Want to pick from the trees to sell? Register and get a license. Just think of the miles and miles of non-productive tree presently in position.

    Like

  20. Bush Tea August 18, 2017 at 8:05 PM #

    @ FearPlay
    That kind of community-centric thinking is out of place in brass bowl land – where the albino-centric doctrine of ‘selfishness’ runs things.

    Perhaps the people with the final decisions have interests in selling food to those very brass bowls that you envision reaping those fruits…

    Even the poor brass bowls themselves ..who would benefit from your thinking, may not support you – on the basis that ‘others’ may get to reap the free fruit before they did….

    This albino-centric selfishness is all-pervasive yuh…

    Like

  21. David August 18, 2017 at 8:11 PM #

    What we see playing out in Barbados repeatedly is a copy from the North American playbook. It explains why we want a palm filled landscape on the highway with well manicured grass etc.

    Like

  22. Pachamama August 19, 2017 at 11:09 AM #

    There is no hygiene in WI cricket, as in politics.

    Like

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