MANY OF THE causes of flooding in Barbados are man-made, says Terrol Inniss, a senior inspector of the Drainage Division.
At a town hall meeting yesterday hosted by the St Michael West Constituency Council in the Hugh Springer Auditorium, Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St Michael, Inniss said Barbadians had to be made more conscious of how their actions could affect drainage.
“We have household trash, which people may think they just put it outside and the Sanitation Service Authority [SSA] would pick it up. The only problem we have with that is that until the Sanitation Service Authority comes, it can be a problem for us,” he said.
Inniss added that he had seen instances where things such as trash cans and animals, like pigs and dogs, had caused flooding in areas like Advent Avenue in Bank Hall, St Michael. He said he had also seen items such as furniture and household appliances and even pieces of sheds washing into the drainage system.
“If you start to hear the rain fall or you know that during the day the rain has been falling tremendously, then do not put your garbage outside. I can’t tell you to keep it in your house, but I can tell you to please secure it in an area where it cannot float away.
“Because when it gets to the drainage structure, the number of things competing for space through or within that structure builds up and that blocks the smaller canals, although the six-metre-wide one would be harder to block,” he said.
As for that large canal, Inniss said he knew of people building ladders to descend into it and setting up chairs to lime in it, while others would build makeshift crossings to traverse the canal. He said these would only end up being washed away when the heavy rains came.
He also said unused building materials were causing the Drainage Division “great” problems.
“Your sand, your stone, your marl, your ‘two down’, your ‘mix quarter’, all of that. During a rainfall event, all those things leech away,” he said, adding that grass and other foliage cuttings were also problematic.
Inniss said sand was particularly bothersome as it tended to settle at the bottom of the drain and helped to trap other things there. He also chastized some businesspeople.
“There are businesses that are also impacting negatively on the drainage system. We do not want to take action against persons who have businesses withn a community, because we know that all those things help to build up a community; but at the same time you must appreciate if you are causing a problem for the community, you are causing a problem for the community and therefore we would want to impress upon persons like that not to impact negatively . . . ,” he said.
Senior environmental health officer Colin Browne was another specially invited speaker. He said there would soon be a national clean-up campaign targeting empty lots where they would admonish landowners to keep them clean on an ongoing basis.
Council chairman Pastor Vincent Wood said the meeting was to bring the community together to report on what the council was doing and give residents the opportunity to highlight any problems they were facing. (CA)