Barbados, considered the regional focal point on climate change, is putting measures in place to preserve and protect its environment against related impacts.

These measures, said Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, during a recent interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, include not just the implementation of boardwalks, as an infrastructural measure to protect shorelines, but will extend to emission testing from vehicles and other practices.

These practices include emphasis on waste management, the protection of the island???s ground water systems, and the preparation of society to respond to catastrophic weather events like tsunamis, hurricanes, and drought.

???We must not have any illusions of the importance of environmental governance. That???s why one of the planks of our sustainable development efforts is sound environmental practices,??? he said.

Dr. Lowe added that Barbados was ???working with haste??? to discontinue the use of open landfills by introducing waste-based energy through the waste-to-energy proposal. To date, four cells at the Mangrove Pond landfill have already been closed, while the one active cell receives only select waste.

Overtime, that lone cell is expected to be closed as Barbados seeks to generate energy from its waste.??The Minister also pointed out that his Ministry was presently looking at a proposal for emissions testing of vehicles, so they could be considered road worthy, and the imposition of serious penalties, including confiscation, for defaulters.

???Too many people are driving vehicles that are creating havoc on our citizens and the health of our environment,??? Dr. Lowe remarked.??Meanwhile, the Minister also voiced his concerns about the state of Barbados??? coral reefs which are degrading in the face of rising sea temperatures, and the resulting loss of beaches.

He stated that the Ministry was presently working on a US$20 million project to rehabilitate the island???s reefs and address climate change impacts.?????We must continue to be evangelical in our message that the protection of the earth is every person???s business. We must continue to protect our trees, tree stock, our open spaces, [and] our citizens from extreme polluting practices,??? the Environment Minister stated.

He added that world leaders accepted that over the next few decades, the cost of protecting the environment, promoting good environmental governance and correcting the damages caused by negative impacts ???would occupy a major segment of the economic cake??? of small islands.

???Therefore what we have to do is to continue in forging our journey of development forward to keep the environment at the centre of what we do and how we do our business on the island,??? Dr. Lowe concluded.

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