Environmental Issues. I have been checking around among some friends and contacts. I received a long list of what they thought were the saddest and most neglected environmental issues. Some were good ideas, and some were not so bright. Those that concern me the most are the following:
- The silt that is now running into people’s homes & yards in
West Enddirectly related to the change in landscape from the Viceroy Project. You can go and take a look at former teacher Omah Richardson and her neighbours’ yards for evidence.
- Corito: the removal of the scrap metal (e.g. old cars, stoves, etc) that are piling up and rapidly decreasing the number of years we can use the site. The discontinuation of the recycling programme needs to be investigated.
idea – While government has been pushing this idea, the agency that government has claimed will manage the park (i.e. the Anguilla National Trust) has never been involved in the formulation of the idea or even in determining if that site is the most suitable site for a national park. Cove National Park
- Septics & Waste Water – The water lab lacks the human and financial resources to do water quality testing on our ponds and even around hotels, resorts and villas located on the coast. The EHU does not conduct checks in this area. Two perfect examples of guilty parties are Cap Juluca dumping its waste in Maunday’s Bay Pond and Arawak Beach Hotel dumping its waste directly into the sea at
. How will Eudoxie and Sandra’s guests st Scilly Cay react to that information when it gets to them? Not to mention the fishermen and bathers from Island Harbour ! Island Harbour
- The recent approval by the Land Development Control Committee of the relocation of the dolphinarium to Sandy Ground. This was done in spite of the objections of the experts. The decision was taken without any public discussion with the people of Sandy Ground. They were supposed to wake up one morning and find their beach turned into a dolphin toilet. The Chief Minister has corrected that error. But, it is a symptom of a serious fault in the system that needs to be addressed.
- The Department of Environment has been in place now for almost 2 years now. Still its role has not been determined. There is no policy, no programmatic plan, nor any oversight. Its human resources for it to be able to function effectively are completely lacking.
- ExCo in 2005 gave the Anguilla National Trust responsibility for the management of protected areas. A budget and a strategic development plan to fit this new direction of the ANT were both immediately prepared by the Board. They were sent to the Permanent Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office for approval by ExCo and approval of funding. Yet, to this date, nothing has been done. Our biodiversity continues to be under more pressure from developers. Our marine resources are becoming more and more scarce. A recent successful OTEP project proposal, I am informed, had to be altered because the Trust still has not been given marine parks to manage. So, St. Maarten-based tourists continue freely to exploit our cays. No Marine Park Wardens are out on the water patrolling and collecting mooring fees, issuing cruising permits, and enforcing the Marine Parks Act.
Anguillahas had the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands extended to us. To this date, we do not have one declared Ramsar site. This is despite the proven biodiversity importance of Dog Island, East End Pond and Sombrero. The question is, when will we meet the obligation of the Convention and name at least one Ramsar Site?
- Litter Wardens have been talked about and people were asked to volunteer (and many did). Yet litter continue to be a major problem for our island. Litter wardens are non-existent. How can we as a tourist destination be catering for the upscale market when we cannot keep our island clean?
Meanwhile, I have learned that a consultancy team is coming from the