Wednesday, April 24, 2024

EDITORIAL: Heed landfill concerns

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Recent events have cast their shadows, and the recent fire at the Mangrove Pond Landfill is precisely the kind of event that should remind us all that pollution is a major hazard of modern civilisation and that how we treat the environment is an important cause of some of the most threatening of man-made problems.
We are already aware of global warming and of the efforts made to bring this issue under control, sometimes with less than enthusiastic compliance by some of the heaviest contributors as countries. And this lack of enthusiasm is often seen even in the face of clear evidence the effects of the gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere.
The melting of some of the world’s most famous ice caps at the Arctic extremities of this earth ought to be a sufficient signal that we need to take this matter seriously, if the “inconvenient truth” of former American vice-president Al Gore’s concerns are not to become a stark reality staring us even more directly in the face.
There are several facets to this matter, and the Government’s emphasis on renewable energy takes into account the need for all nations to develop alternate energy. It is a good policy because it has the benefit of saving us vast amounts of foreign exchange which flow out every year while eliminating some of the pollution occasioned by the use of fossil fuel derivatives.
Given these objectives it was most unfortunate that there should have been the combustion at Mangrove Pond on Monday. It reminds us at once how vulnerable that site is to internal combustion and at the same time it exposes large numbers of locals and tourists alike to the hazards of such toxins as are released from these types of fires.
We should all take heed of the concerns, because even at the local level there may be some evidence of the adverse impact of pollution. We have had an explosion of asthma cases among our younger people, notably schoolchildren, and while the increasing numbers of diesel-fuelled vehicles have not been directly linked to the increase, there has also been an increase in the frequency with which black smoke is emitted from the exhaust pipes of vehicles on our streets.
We did not need the Mangrove Pond flare-up to remind us; but it has. The problem at the landfill needs to be solved and this must be done with expedition. We cannot afford to disadvantage residents and tourists by repeatedly exposing them to the risk of what might be called “the Mangrove problem”.
Equally, we must tackle the problem of  “acrid black smoke laden with toxic chemicals” being emitted by badly serviced vehicles.
Such pollution hurts our nation and our people; and as such, is our urgent business.

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