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DEAR CHRISTINE: Smoke making breathing uneasy

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

DEAR CHRISTINE: Smoke making breathing uneasy

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Dear Christine,
I am not sure, whether or not your column is the forum to speak of this issue that is bothering me. To my knowledge, not many forums are available that I can think of.
I am a concerned mother. Both my children suffer from asthma and related health issues.
What bothers me is that they both have to deal with not only the natural seasonal allergens but also with the indiscriminate and continuous burning of “stuff” by so many Barbadians, even now in the dry season.
People do not take the time to walk a few yards to a neighbour’s house to say, “I am going to burn something,” or to ask, “is it okay if I burn something?”
You are not even able to do laundry in peace as the smoke gets into your things and makes them smell.
Nightly, one or both of my children wakes up coughing uncontrollably, with blocked nostrils and problems breathing.
This is often due to the burning of stuff in the evening. The children always need the inhalers or antihistamines and cannot get a good night’s sleep.
My son is constantly rubbing his nose and has recently started to have nose bleeds. The thing is, in our community, not a day goes by properly without someone burning something. It is becoming more than a nuisance and I am not sure what to do.
In this day, you cannot go to someone’s house to ask them to turn down the loud music, furthermore ask them not to burn their garbage or waste, if the smoke is affecting you.
What are people with asthma and allergies supposed to do? Just suffer and have attacks?
I want to appeal to my fellow Barbadians, to please stop burning.
Too many people are being affected.
Too many already suffer with asthma.
I see that the National Conservation Commission fills large garbage bags with the grass and bush they cut.
In the interest of perhaps saving some one’s life could people not take the time to dispose of waste in this way too?
I am concerned for my children’s health, and I hope that by writing this a few people will see and change this bad habit.
 Thank you and God bless you.
 – Concerned  Mom
Dear Concerned Mom,
What you are dealing with here is a serious matter, and I know that there are many other people who suffer with asthma and are affected in the same way.
I cannot for the life of me, understand why people believe there have to burn “stuff”/garbage – call it what you may.
I agree that they can dispose of their garbage by other means.
An officer from the Fire Service has stated that neighbourly love and concern for one’s neighbours must win in a situation like this.
He has suggested that you politely ask your neighbours to inform you of the times they plan to burn anything.
This should give you adequate time to remove your children from the surroundings. Of course, the smoke would still be in the air for some time.
According to the officer, people should only burn their garbage around 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. These fires must be contained in a container of some sort. But that’s not all!
The Fire Service should always be notified when anyone is setting out to burn garbage. In this way, they are kept on the alert, should the fire get out of control.
My best bet is to try talking to the neighbours so there is some understanding between you two.
I honestly hope this works out for you, and that by printing his letter, those who are guilty of burning garbage, would be more considerate of their neighbours.