The Scotland District will be in focus as Barbados joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Day to Combat Desertification under the theme: Don’t Let Our Future Dry Up, on Monday, June 17.

The Ministry of the Environment and Drainage will also use the entire week from Monday, June 17 until Friday, June 21, to raise awareness of the significance of managing Barbados’ natural fresh water sources and the subsequent importance of preserving its scarce land resources.

As part of the celebrations, students of four primary schools will have the opportunity to take part in sustainable land management and biodiversity activities at East Coast Road by the former site of the Party Monarch Finals. This begins at 10:00 a.m. and will be followed by a tour of the Soil Conservation Unit at Haggatts, St. Andrew.

The St. Christopher’s Primary School is expected to take part in the activities on Monday, June 17, while the Ellerton Primary will have their day on Tuesday, June 18. St. Bartholomew’s Primary will visit the area on Friday, June 21, while students from the Wesley Hall Infants, will go on Tuesday, June 25. The activities begin at 10:00 a.m. on each day.

In a statement from the Ministry, it was stated that geology was a major factor contributing to land degradation in the Scotland District area.

??"With the uplift of the island and the subsequent removal of the coral limestone cap in its north-eastern section, the softer underlying clastic sediments (shales, sandstones, clays) have been exposed to sub-aerial processes, erosion, weathering and mass movement," the statement read.

Therefore, issues of land degradation, particularly in the Scotland District, which represents one seventh of the island, will be highlighted, especially its mudstone and sandstone, which are very susceptible to erosion. "It is with this in mind that the land degradation activity for 2013 will be conducted in this highly susceptible area," the statement said.

June 17 was proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, and civil society, governments, schools, the media and others across the world are being called upon to organise events and awareness activities on themes of water scarcity and drought preparedness for this year.

It is predicted that the effects of desertification, land degradation and drought may expose almost two thirds of the world’s population to increased water stress by 2025.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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