Understanding the Law
June 13, 2008
World Environmental Day

Recognizing the need to call attention to our environment, the United Nation’s General Assembly in 1972 declared June 5th the day on which to celebrate the environment. It is expected that awareness in the environment would be heightened and the interest to protect it would be generated. To keep the interest alive, it was decided that one city would undertake each year to conduct the celebrations. So far, there has never been the lack of volunteers.{{more}} This year the celebrations took place in Wellington, New Zealand, and the theme for the celebrations is “kick the habit! – towards a low carbon economy”.

Visible effects

There are still many practices which are hurting the environment and causing the degradation of our planet earth. These are seen or felt in many ways, including global warming, the melting of ice in the Arctic region, the rising of the sea level, extreme weathers, among others.

Closer home, we see the degradation of our own island state in the form of shrunken rivers. From my recollection, the Morne Garu River which passes through the village of O’Briens Valley and Georgetown was a larger river some years ago. There are signs that the ocean is creeping its way further inland. The Windward Coast line has changed significantly, especially in the Georgetown, Byera and Langley Park areas. A few houses have been swept away, and it has become more dangerous to live on the shore line, especially in times of high seas. Further, many persons would tell you that the heat of the sun has never been so intense within living memories. Although there was some rain in early April we were beginning to think that they were not going to come.

Harm to the environment

We are unable to discontinue some practices that are harmful to our health and to our environment. Countries all over the world continue to maintain high dependence on fossil fuel, such as oil for energy, and although some of the industrialized countries have initiated clean air laws and programmes for alternative energy, they have not gone far enough to actually effect significant changes. The emissions from industries, air craft and the smoke that you create in your back yard end up in the same atmosphere from which we get the air to breathe. Right here at home we see vehicles on our roads emitting black smoke and we wonder if we have no standards in relation to emissions. There are vehicles that cannot meet the standards in other countries, but yet we see them all the time on our streets. Smoke appears to be a part of every day living, and persons continue to show little respect for the lungs of the other person. Many persons are made prisoners in their own houses when their neighbours decide to light a fire to get rid of dead leaves or paper.

Urgent call to preserve our planet

There is an urgent need to preserve our planet so that it could be left in good conditions for the benefit of future generations. No generation has seen and caused so much pollution. We can help by disposing of our waste wisely, find alternatives to fossil fuel. Think twice before we light that fire. Compost heaps would benefit rather than harm. Save our planet today! Future generations would thank you for it. Keep this earth green!

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: [email protected]