Understanding the Law
July 8, 2011
Raise the Environmental standards

I think we are still in denial about the nature of our environmental problem because we have clear skies and brilliant sunshine. We overlook the fact that there are indeed invisible tiny particles in the air that eventually reach our lungs. Proof of the presence of these tiny particles in the air can be seen in the dirty sooty water that comes out of the curtains that we take down to wash.{{more}}

Big country problem

Our desire to make a living and to do so at any cost leads us into practices that are detrimental to our health. We believe that smoke in the atmosphere is a “big country” problem and that it doesn’t concern us because we do not have big industries emitting volumes of smoke. Contrary to this mode of thinking, we have a serious problem, and we are breathing into our lungs contaminated air. I point not only to the fire that we burn but also to the vehicles that spew out black smoke into the atmosphere.

Black smoke on the street

Yes, if you are concerned about the pollution, then you would need to look at those vehicles, especially the vans that spew black smoke into our atmosphere. These are vehicles which did not make the standards in the countries of origin, and rather than fixing the problem the vehicles are offered for sale and grabbed by third world countries like SVG where standards are not strictly observed. I say this because I see many vehicles on the streets spewing black smoke. The soot sometimes sticks on to the vehicle itself and gives it an untidy faded look. There are far too many of these vehicles on the road and the owners/drivers are going about their business unconcerned about the pollution and the damage to the human lungs. We appear to be casting a blind eye to the problem? Or do we feel that the problem would just go away as the dust appears to fade into thin air. Surely this problem can go away if we do not buy defective vehicles. New buyers must be alert. They must have an eye for this problem when they test drive the vehicle. I know that the price may be attractive, but I don’t think that it is worth creating island wide respiratory problems.

Respect our neighbours

One reader told me of his woes with neighbours who burn toxic material, and including materials such as plastic bottles in the neighbourhood. According to his account, the neighbour thinks he has a right to burn what ever he wants on his property. No thought to the fact that he cannot hold the smoke to his property. This smacks of willful behavior because I know that there is an island wide system of collection of garbage and it makes me wonder if this is some form of harassment. Because I do not think the garbage collectors have refused any items except perhaps with that of grass and tree branches. If that behavior is willful, then there would be a pay back time, and I urge you not to do it because you were taught to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We have seen the thousands of cars that were carried along by the tsunami in Japan. The nuclear plants were damaged and radio active material escaped. Were these vehicle contaminated and would these vehicles find their way to SVG? Does our poverty dictate that we accept items that are sub-standard and which interfere with our neighbour’s peace and happiness?

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com