WORKSHOP EDUCATES ON LAND-BASED POLLUTION

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The Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS) Protocol is a discrete element, in the legal mechanism, through which regional cooperation and management of shared resources can be effectively achieved.

This was the elucidation given today by Minister of the Environment, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed a number of technocrats, who participated in a Sensitisation Workshop on the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities, to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention), at the Sherbourne Conference Centre.

Dr. Byer Suckoo explained that once a country acceded to the Protocol it was required to take appropriate measures, especially regarding the prevention, reduction and control of pollution from domestic wastewater, industrial wastes and agricultural non-point sources of pollution. She disclosed that “in the last four years the Environmental Protection Department has conducted a regulatory and compliance audit programme of various sectors on the island.

“My Ministry has assessed, to date, the impact of dry cleaners, printers, and  flour milling and is currently finalising an audit report on the local power company. Two other priority source categories and activities affecting the convention area are sugar factories and rum distilleries”, she said.

The Minister further disclosed that “during this financial year, audits will be conducted of the five facilities in this sector, as part of the requirements of Section Four of the Marine Pollution Control Act”.

In pointing out that meeting the standards to reverse trends of adverse impacts identified from local research was paramount, she stated that “the Bridgetown and South Coast Sewerage Treatment Systems have resulted in some improvement in the nearshore water quality, and data on reef health is being analysed through the Coastal Zone Management Unit”.

While providing the background to the LBS Protocol and the implications for Barbados and the region, the Assessment and Management Environmental Protocol Programme Manager, Christopher Corbin, explained that the code of behavior sought to exchange information of land-based pollution, through cooperation in monitoring and research. Mr. Corbin made it known that “US $95 to $140 million is the estimated loss of net revenues in fisheries, to be accrued by the year 2015”.

Dr. Byer Suckoo opined that an interesting development, emerging from the Cartagena Convention, is the planned Caribbean Revolving Fund for Wastewater Management in the Caribbean (CReW).

“Furthermore, CReW can steer the donor community towards the funding of projects in a sector widely recognised as a top priority within the region. The Government of Barbados welcomes this initiative and looks forward to its full implementation.”

The Minister gave the assurance that “this Government recognises the importance of the marine environment to cultural, social and economic development, and through this workshop, we intend to solicit further contributions from you, to facilitate a shared understanding toward the ratification of the LBS Protocol, and become the sixth Government to have ratified it before June 2009”.

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