One of this country’s few remaining ecological attractions is apparently now under threat from the worsening sewage spill on the south coast.
Some business owners and residents impacted by the spills have taken matters into their own hands and are resorting to dumping the vile smelling effluence, which has pooled in their backyards for months, into the Graeme Hall swamp.
With the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) unable to get a handle on the long running crisis, which has been the subject of health and travel advisories from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, some people are directing the filth from their property into the nature sanctuary.
This morning Barbados TODAY visited the swamp and witnessed the foul smelling contents of a pipe being pumped into the marshlands.
The PVC line was traced to the back of the building formerly known as Club Extreme, into a catchment of foul smelling water.
A second pipe was seen along the side of the building and running to the swamp. However no liquid was flowing from it at the time.
An official who identified himself as a BWA consultant was also present at the scene this morning and expressed grave concern over what he saw.
“This is highly illegal. I can’t believe that people would be so nasty,” said the consultant, who did not want to be identified.
Two residents of the area, neither of whom wanted to be named, told Barbados TODAY the pipelines had been there for more than a week. The men also reported that they had seen privately owned septic trucks dumping their contents into the swamp over weekend.
“I can’t tell if it was one truck making two trips or two trucks, but I saw them dumping the s**t into the swamp and leave,” one of the residents said.
“The thing make me sick because I know people does be fishing in that swamp. I know just now you going see fish kills in that swamp. I want to believe they were pumping off people’s yards in the area and they wanted to make a fast turn around.”
Meanwhile, community activist Adrian Donovan, who said he had seen the pipes and had heard the reports of the septic trucks, strongly condemned those behind the dumping.
However, Donovan argued that such action was a sign that people were now fed up of waiting on Government for a solution.
“I can’t say if it is illegal because I don’t know if people got permission to do what they did, but either way it is wrong because this is an environmental disaster. However, at the same time you have to ask yourself how long can people wait for a solution while sewage is in their backyard and breeding mosquitoes and affecting their health and their businesses,” he told Barbados TODAY.
When contacted this afternoon Minister of Health John Boyce said he was unaware of the situation, but gave the assurance that the matter would be investigated.
“Anything of that nature must be illegal, so once an investigation is done we would notify the property owner that they can’t do that. When these things are brought to our attention we take them seriously, but bear in mind that the responsibility is not always on the Ministry of Health, but if a person is dumping illegally the premise has always been to address it,’ Boyce said.
However, BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that he was made aware of the pipes, and steps were being taken to address the matter immediately.
“The situation is of tremendous concern to us, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment, if it is that waste is being disposed of in the canal . . . . The two pipes were drawn to our attention and we have discussed it and we are going to put the remedial action this week to ensure that we are not endangering the swamp. But in regards to the trucks, I heard it yesterday, but I am hoping that it is just a malicious comment being made because we employed a number of private haulers and it would be good if we had more information because it certainly has to be investigated,” Halliday said.