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Monday, April 17, 2006 

Householders advised to clean up surroundings
Web Posted - Mon Apr 17 2006

By Regina Selman

Householders in Barbados need to pay more attention to the way in which they treat their surroundings, since the careless actions of one person could pose problems for the community at large. This is the message George Mayers, En vironmental Health Officer with the Ministry of Health, wants Barbadians to be aware of.

What's more, Mayers wants to remind persons that they can be prosecuted after being issued three warnings by a Health Inspector to clean up their properties. Ac cording to him, a person can be charged for being an environmental nuisance. In making his point, Mayers stated recently that when mosquitoes are found on a person's property, the inspector is supposed to serve a notice to the person in question.

If that person fails to change their behaviour and continues to endanger the public, then that person can be fined a maximum of $5 000, six months imprisonment, or both. Noting that the role of the Environmental Health Officer is to not onl y conduct house to house inspections but to also educate the general public, he has suggested that at this time of the year the focus should be on getting rid of all the breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, the primary carrier for viruses that cause dengue fever.

According to Mayers, it is at this time the dry season that the Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays its eggs, since the eggs have to go through an extensive amount of drying before they hatch. Persons should therefore check breeding sites such as tree trunks, empty containers and plant saucers, bird baths, eaves, gutters, old tyres and cars as well as coconut shells.

With the recent harvesting of the canes, the environmental health officer has also noted that there has been an increased sighting of rodents. This he stated, does not necessarily mean that rodents are on the increase, but that they will be seeking alternative sources of food. Persons should therefore refrain from keeping pet food around the yard ov er night, since rodents are nocturnal creatures by nature and will come looking for food. Householders should also pay attention to the way in which they dispose of their refuse as well because refuse heaps can draw rodents.

In giving some wor ds of advice to citizens as to how they can protect themselves from certain environmental triggers, Mayers has advised persons to be conscious of the increase in haze, which can cause a number of problems for asthmatics and others with sensitive r espiratory systems. With the ongoing construction boom as well, persons should be conscious of the number of heavy duty vehicles transporting materials on the road, which can also have an impact on the atmosphere.

This is a time when flowers will also be blooming and more pollen will be in the atmosphere and cow itch in this dry season can cause a lot of problems for householders who live down wind of it, he said.
Mayers revealed the above information while deployed at a community out reach Market Day at the Taitt Hill New Testament Church of God in St. George. People in the community were lectured by various persons in the Ministry of Health.

Pointing out that there are currently 200 to 250 inspectors who do early morning house to house inspections, he stated that while visits are to be paid to householders every three to four months, due to the construction boom and the increase in newly constructed houses across Barbados, some inspectors are finding it difficult to reach all householders. Mayers has therefore called for more community ventures, whereby environmental health officers can interact with the public and discuss troubling areas in the community.

Barbados Advocate ©2000

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