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Lowe: Illegal trash blocking drains


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MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT Dr Denis Lowe is cutting short his overseas trip to return to Barbados in the wake of the severe flooding.
Speaking to the DAILY NATION yesterday via telephone, Lowe, who is attending a Water Resource Management Conference in Grenada, said he would return home today to attend to domestic matters, three days ahead of schedule.
Lowe said even though he was in Grenada, he was being kept abreast of the flooding which has gripped the island for the past couple of days due to torrential showers.
He noted that this rainfall was unusual for Barbados.
“The flooding situation has to be seen not as a result of a lack of infrastructure work by the Drainage Unit but a system overload from the sudden quantity of water being produced by the rains. I don’t think that the drainage system in Barbados can accommodate that quantity of water without having a negative impact on our communities.”
He said the drainage team had been out giving “meaningful responses” to the affected areas; but lamented that illegal dumping was still a major problem and was contributing to the flooding.
“One unfortunate thing is illegal dumping which is still proving to be a hazard to how we manage the flow of water, particularly in water courses,” he stated, adding that people involved in construction were also building on water courses and redirecting the water flow.
He singled out the flood-prone Fontabelle, St Michael district as one of the areas where dumped garbage was getting into the drains and causing blockages.
The Minister reiterated that the law would have to be enforced to deal with illegal dumping.
In the meantime, he said, an emergency line had been set up at the Drainage Unit to respond to flooding, while he advised people living in his Christ Church East constituency to contact his constituency office for assistance.