A major clean-up is in the pipeline for Bridgetown.
Dubbed ‘Operation Clean City’, the initiative, which is the brainchild of the Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, will see the phased implementation of an integrated management system for Bridgetown, in terms of its cleaning and maintenance.
The comprehensive flood prevention and beautification operation, is intended to become an annual service, at the completion of phase one.
It is expected to be launched on April 15, while steps towards the complete roll out of phase one is expected to commence by month-end. A key component of the first phase will be meetings with key stakeholders including residents, city merchants and other business entities.
Addressing a meeting of management officials to finalise plans for the initiative today, Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, said the first priority would be the cleaning of all drainage systems in an effort to mitigate the sources which resulted in flooding last year.
“When we see cities of comparable size around the world, we notice the use of very creative means of beautification. At the end of the programme, therefore, we would like there to be a new face to the city, not only in terms of the placement of plants, but in the maintenance of standards,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Lowe underscored the need for a sustained education campaign within schools so that the message of environmental sustainability could be emphasised. “We need to get to our children; the message has to be reinforced or our society will be riddled with chaos,” he stressed.
General Manager of the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA), Stanton Alleyne, cited plastic bags as one of the major headaches in Bridgetown, with many, he noted, finding their way into pump houses and drains and hindering operations. Mr. Alleyne identified the repair of cracked drains and the removal of plants and cement build-up problems which could be rectified within the short term.
By the end of phase one, the Ministry hopes to be equipped to identify all wells, drainage systems and flash flooding areas within the precincts of the city; develop an operational mapping of the drainage network; and ensure that all drains and wells are cleared. It also wants to establish a beautification programme as a key component of the initiative; develop an operational mapping of the drainage network and establish a data base for the service schedule for all drainage systems; and engage the business community, vendors, residents and other key stakeholders in the partnership to create a clean urban corridor.
The establishment of an integrated drainage management system that includes collaboration between the Sanitation Service Authority’s Drainage Unit; the Ministry’s Drainage Division; the National Conservation Commission and Beautify Barbados is also a major plank of phase one. An assessment and provision of the equipment, service and manpower needs required to implement and advance this year-round programme is also essential.