Understanding the Law
March 28, 2013
Clean air

We are worried about the water we drink, but how many of us are worried about the air we breathe? I have not heard much talk about it. We all take, from that massive atmosphere around us, oxygen into our lungs and breathe out carbon dioxide. This is an amazing process, but often-times we take the purity of the air for granted, perhaps because we cannot actually see air.{{more}}

Some countries have seen the need for good quality air and have gone a step further by enacting legislation. In St Vincent and the Grenadines, we often have a vigorous breeze, clear skies, seemingly clear air and because of this we take it for granted that the air, is clean and free of pollutants. Nonetheless, there are small particles comprising grime, soot and dirt in the air which are not readily seen with the naked eye and which make the air impure. The impurities are not there in the amount that is seen in the atmosphere of industrialized cities, but there are enough pollutants to cause us to pause and rethink our conditions.

In the absence of specific legislation and with the need to preserve clean air, we have to pay more attention to the atmosphere. We need to desist from sending so much smoke to pollute our atmosphere. It is not unusual and we see many fires, even though we are asked at this time of the year not to light fires. If you continue to doubt the presence of pollutants in the atmosphere, you need to put up a thin white chiffon curtain to see how dirty it is by the end of the week. This is seen more so in houses close to the road and especially where windows are left open.

Our household waste is taken care of by the relevant department; we have to take care of the disposal of outdoor waste. The answer is not to send it up in smoke. If you have to burn stuff more than once per year, then it is one too many fires. The only items that we should burn are papers, especially confidential papers, because not many people can afford shredders and the cost of operating could be considered an unnecessary expense. You should gather the leaves, with other bits and pieces from the yard in garbage bags, put them in a cool place where they can rot to provide you with compost for your outdoor garden and potted plants. Smoke is irritating and could cause damage to your lungs. With constant exposure it can also cause respiratory diseases. You may choose to constantly expose yourself to smoke, but your neighbours will not thank you for exposing them. Quite a lot has been said and written about smoke from cigarettes, but do we consider smoke emission from vehicles? This oily soot lingers in the houses of those who live near to the road. It sticks to the curtains and other objects, causing a mess. This is perhaps the most serious nuisance, which goes unabated. It is time to stop importing vehicles which are emitting this smoky mess. We cannot afford to take other people’s problems.

We also need to plant grass over the exposed soil to prevent wind erosion. This is especially prevalent at this time of the year. If you have sand for building purposes in your yard, you need to cover with a tarpaulin to prevent fine grit from getting into the atmosphere.

Do your part to keep the atmosphere clean so that we can all inhale clean air.