Barbadians have been called upon to take greater responsibility for their waste disposal, as the country moves towards a green economy.
Minister for the Environment Denis Lowe, told Parliament during debate on a Resolution for the Green Economy Scoping Study, that Barbados has moved from producing less than 200 tonnes of waste per day in 1974 to over 1,200 tonnes of waste per day in 2016.
“Moving from a small village to a modernised society with an increase of dwellings, and an increase in population Mr Speaker, that is part responsible for the generation of the kind of waste that we’re now having to deal with.
“So when we talk about waste management, we’re not just simply talking about a pile of garbage here, there and everywhere. We’re talking about the dynamics of the generation of waste, and what a country’s response has to be to it,” Lowe said.
He added that this response must include both Government and the wider society, where all members “become active participants in the resolution of the challenges that we face in that regard”.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told the Lower House that residents need to take into account the island’s fragile ecosystems through its production, distribution, consumption and waste disposal practices.
“We have to integrate these things and make sure that we pursue a developmental path that is sustainable, by which I mean that we not only take care of our interests in the year 2016, but we pass on a Barbados to future generations that is better and more environmentally sound than the Barbados that we inherited,” Stuart said.
He also noted that garbage generated does not belong to the government.
“We generate it, we buy the pet bottles of drink, we buy the Kentucky chicken, we accumulate all the plastic bags, and then we treat them as though they belong to the government. So if somebody doesn’t come and collect them, and collect them in our time, that is an occasion for quarreling and for protest,” Stuart stated.
“We have to become more responsible, and more mature and more disciplined if we’re going to get this green economy right, if we’re going to create a more environmentally friendly Barbados. We cannot be throwing beds alongside the road and dropping old chairs near wells where [people] get their water. You can’t do that, we expect to have a healthy environment.”
The Prime Minister also raised concerns about increasing carbon concentrations, which he said are “getting dangerously close to 400 parts per million”.
“That increase has been attributed by the climate scientists and by other scientists to anthropogenic interventions. In other words these are not acts of God, these are not things that happen by accident. Human inaction has led to all of this. So all of us has a responsibility … to understand that … the planet is speaking and if we do not listen carefully and obey what the planet is telling us, our very existence is going to be put at risk,” Stuart said.