HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Farming dangers
ADD SOME NON-NATIONAL farmers to the list of people who are polluting the island’s environment.
And worse yet, says a retired health inspector and agricultural consultant, they are doing it not only by carelessly discarding plastic containers, but by not triple-rinsing them of the dangerous pesticides they once contained.
Treasurer of the Barbados Association of Retired Environmental Health Officers, Michael A. Campbell, expressed concern about the practices of these farmers with whom he comes into contact.
“Most of the farmers I encounter are Guyanese and you know what they tell you? ‘Man, we is do that home’. But I tell them ‘you ain’t home. You in Barbados’,” Campbell said.
He said he saw a lot of illegal or indiscriminate dumping in Charnocks, Ealing Grove, Wilcox and Gibbons Boggs in Christ Church, since those were the areas which he visited.
“It’s the illegal dumping of agricultural chemical containers which, after a time, the drainings, the water, are going to infiltrate and reach our water table.
“It may not do it in our time, or your time nor little children’s time, but it gine get down there and it gine poison us,” Campbell said.
He declared the chemicals were worse than the pesticides with which the average householder was familiar.
“Gramoxone is slender to some of the ones we’re talking about,” he said, revealing one chemical was Lannate, while there were many that contained 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (or 2,4-D).
“So we now have to carry out a programme to train them, to teach them about how to triple-rinse the containers. They have been trained but [some] just don’t care. They use the powder out of the sacs and they pelt way the package and it blowing all ’bout,” he told Heather-Lynn’s Habitat.
“I don’t know how we [will] get around it, but we got to start somewhere. I find we are very untidy.”
Campbell further lambasted farmers for not wearing the required protective clothing while they were spraying their fields.
In addition, he said some were spraying vegetables with chemicals and pesticides and then harvesting or reaping them too quickly – long before the re-entry time allotted for the chemical.
“For some chemicals, the re-entry time could be from three to seven days, but a man gine spray them Monday, but he got a market Friday, he gine sell them.
“So you got to be careful and you got to be careful of the ones that stealing.”