Barbados has joined several countries in formalising plans to govern the disposal of pesticide containers used on the island.
The Pesticides Container Management Scheme was launched at the River Plantation this morning. This was the first of four such schemes to be launched in the country, with the second expected to be launched at the Spring Hall Land Lease Project in another two weeks.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, said Barbados now stood alongside the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Suriname in having in place measures to ensure the proper disposal of pesticide containers.
“The indiscriminate disposal of empty pesticide containers among crops has been witnessed on occasions too numerous to mention, and this is serious cause for concern. Not only is the practice a danger to our environment, but it poses a direct risk to persons who may use a container, unaware of its original contents. We have a responsibility to ensure that our children, in particular, cannot easily access these containers,” he said.
Mr. Weir stated that the scheme’s slogan is Read, Rinse, Return, and sought to advise users of pesticides to read labels carefully to determine where and how each should be used, and the correct quantity.
The second step in the slogan emphasises the importance of rinsing the empty pesticide container three times, and using the rinse water in the spray mix, a technique referred to as the triple mix technique.
Meanwhile, the third step in the process encourages users to place empty pesticide containers in a special trailer provided.
“I urge each farmer to make a commitment to ensure the success of this project by following guidelines for the use of pesticides, and the proper disposal of the containers. In so doing, you will also contribute to beautification of our island,” Mr. Weir encouraged.
He explained that the River Plantation was chosen for today’s launch because of the large farming community, who significantly contribute to the reduction of the food import bill, and Barbados’ food security goals.
The Minister also commended the work done by the Pesticides Control Unit of the Ministry, the stakeholder committee, for the role they played in the project, and the Food and Agricultural Organization for the technical assistance provided to Barbados and other Caribbean countries.
Registrar of Pesticides, Gennia Oxley, noted that the four initial schemes would guide the approach to be taken to extend the project to all farming districts on the island.
She explained that the aim was to find a way to recycle the containers through another company, or use them to make objects that would not be easily accessed by the public.
Regional Project Coordinator for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Guy Mathurin, said the launch was in line with a regional Pesticides Management Project being executed in 11 Caribbean countries.