Environment Ministry Concerned About Indiscriminate Burning

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Minister of Environment,??Dr. Denis Lowe??

When Government’s Environment Management Act comes on stream, it will address the practice of indiscriminate burning, among other issues.

Word of this has come from Environment Minister, Dr. Denis Lowe, who said that his Ministry was very committed to addressing this issue, because of the serious impact which it can have on the quality of life of persons in society.

"We know that indiscriminate burning poses a number of risks to the environment, not only in terms of its impact on air quality, but in terms of the effect it can have on the well-being of asthmatics and persons with respiratory problems. I believe that legislation is necessary, but a change of attitude is even more strategic, in my view, in getting this rectified," he asserted.

Noting that a comprehensive Environment Management Bill was currently before the Chief Parliamentary Council’s Office, Minister Lowe added they were hoping to have the process completed by December.

"All of these issues will be addressed within the body of the Act. But, I think that in addition to that, Government has to sensitise the public as to what it takes to live a decent life in this society.

"It is not just about the economics of a country, it is also about the life choices of its citizens. It does not matter how well the economy is doing, if citizens are adapting lifestyle choices that are detrimental to themselves and to others. You will still have a problem which will impact negatively on your capacity to become a sustainable developing country," the Minister stressed.

What Government was trying to do, Dr. Lowe explained, was to twin the legislative aspect with an educational programme in an effort to show persons how they could change their attitudes, habits and behaviour.

Pointing out that there was little emphasis on the educational aspect in the past, the Environment Minister said he was hopeful that with persistent campaigning, as well as incorporation into the school curriculum, that positive practices would begin to take root in society over time.

"We are a reactive society – we wait until things happen and then we start thinking about what we could have done, and what we can do to address them…and I think that is part of our weakness.

The leaders in the society should be at the forefront of getting the message across. The police, the church, the fire service…and all of these systems can unite in the effort. They have different audiences and they meet people at different places in their lives.

If all of these services combine to share a message, share an expected outcome and work towards achieving that outcome, you may find that one person gets hit with?? that message three or four times in a given day or?? week – because of the different meeting points," Dr. Lowe declared.??

cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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