Minister Lowe concerned about state of reefs

dennislowereefviewThe Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe says he is concerned about the state of the island’s reefs.

Speaking to the media after a submarine tour of west coast this morning, the minister said the coral reefs were obviously showing signs of multiple impacts that had to be addressed.

“It was a very, very exciting tour, but I can’t help but indicate that I have come away with some great concerns as well. Obviously the evidence of the reducing resilience of our corals is clear. There is also clear evidence that there are multiple impacts both land-based impacts, and climate-related impacts that are affecting the state of the corals.

“I did indicate to the director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit that I anticipated seeing a greater variety of coral life and I suppose I would have to do this at night to appreciate what lies there … but clearly we have to address how we are doing business inland, particularly on the coast with the possibility of that whole environment being impacted by practices in agriculture…, our golf course environment and then the normal practices as it relates to the release of different types of pollutants and effluent and so on,” he said.

“Therefore,” Lowe maintained, “I’m going away from this experience hoping to impress on the minds of our technical people and hardworking professionals to beef up their activities in trying to arrest some of this degradation as far as we possibly can.”

The other thing he said was also impressed on him from the Atlantis Submarine experience, was that all school children in Barbados needed to be exposed to that type of tour as they would be the ones to determine the sustainability of the efforts and possibly gain a greater appreciation for the outlook on the marine environment.

Stressing that prevention was better than cure and that efforts at the regional level now were looking at adaptation methods to correct what has already been done, Lowe said he believed there was still need to look at what the island could do to control the impacts before they occurred.

“I am really ambivalent about this whole experience. Maybe my expectations are too high, but I expected to see a whole lot more flourishing life in the coral reef environment than I saw today. It looks very stressed. It looks tired.

“I’m going to be getting together with my permanent secretary and the staff at the Coastal Zone Management Unit to look at that to see what we are doing and what else we can do to respond to those kinds of circumstances,” he said. (LB)

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