Concern About Climate Change Impact

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More attention needs to be paid to the link between greenhouse gases and climate change if countries like Barbados are to truly address and minimise its impacts.

This call has come from Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, during a recent interview with the Barbados Government Information Service.

While extending well wishes to the people and Government of Dominica as they continue to rebuild following the destruction caused by Tropical Storm Erika, the Minister said it highlighted the fact that small island developing states must continue to face the reality of climate change, and how weather patterns are changing rapidly in the region.

Making reference to recent flooding in the north of Barbados, the Minister stressed that it was not a lack of ???drainage readiness???, but because of a sudden inundation of water from the rainfall that overwhelmed systems, some of which are over 50 years old.

???So when Government focuses on what needs to be done to deal with the realities of climate change and how climate change impacts upon our weather systems, weather events, droughts and the like, we have to continue to ask ourselves whether or not we are contributing to the impact of climate change by our own living styles, [and] our policies,??? Dr. Lowe said, adding there was a need to understand the link between these patterns, the production of waste and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

However, he said what was certain was the need to pay more attention to greenhouse gases, especially as one of the largest emitters of such were open landfills.The Minister stressed that Barbados needed to become more focused on finding ways to treat waste, so as to allow the island to meet its target for the discontinuation of open landfills by 2020.??

???Every ton of greenhouse gas emitted on Barbados contributes to the exacerbation of the climate change phenomenon,??? he pointed out.

Dr. Lowe stressed that there was therefore a critical need for Barbados to look at its production and consumption patterns; consumption of fossil fuel-based energy; its pursuit of renewable energy as the viable alternative to fossil fuel energy; and its transportation systems in terms of seeking to introduce emission testing of all vehicles on the roads.

The country also needed to examine the issue of the indiscriminate burning of materials, which contributed to the amount of greenhouse gases that we emit, he added. Dr. Lowe further noted that Barbados also needed to examine how it was going to manage the millions of tyres currently at the landfill, as well as plastic bottles and other types of recycling.

???We must also continue to emphasise recycling as a viable waste handling option, and we must continue to understand the link between waste handling, waste disposal, waste management, and waste conversion to non-toxic by-products,??? the Environment Minister pointed out.

He reasoned that as long as that approach was kept in focus, Barbados would continue to do its part in reducing its contribution to climate change.

???Therefore, the efforts of our nation in adhering to the global indicators that show a clear relationship between how we live, move and have our being in our society, and the connection with these atmospheric changes that are resulting in devastating weather patterns that could potentially wipe out our very existence, is vital. We must not wait; we must act now,??? he stressed.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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