Greater Implementation of Policies For The Water Sector Needed
There is a call for the greater implementation and development of policies for water sector management in the Caribbean.
This is the view of Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, who was addressing the 9th High Level Ministerial Forum on Water for Ministers of the CARICOM Region, today at the Hilton Barbados hotel.
Dr. Estwick said that many small developing islands are faced with challenges that relate to basic amenities and the maintenance of a high standard of living.
“A surprising number of householders in small and rural communities in the region lack adequate facilities for the proper collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater – all essential to protecting the environment and the health of the public,” he lamented.
The Water Resource Management Minister said that it was essential for a proper wastewater treatment to be in place to safeguard against diseases.
He noted that this could be done through proper garbage collection, potable water treatment facilities and immunisation programmes, among others. He stated that untreated water could create a number of challenges for individuals as it could spread diseases and infect drinking water sources at various levels.
“… Most people give little thought to what happens to their wastewater, and the availability of safe, clean drinking water is often taken for granted. Cholera and other wastewater–related diseases are generally viewed as threats only for other less developed countries. Hence, we need to be cautious of similar outbreaks reaching our shores which could negatively impact our populations and devastate our fragile economies,” he added.
Dr. Estwick expressed the hope that by the end of the High Level Session, plans would be in place that would help to further address the issues relating and affecting water and wastewater management throughout the region.
The 9th High Level Ministerial Forum continues tomorrow.