Natural Disasters

Too high a price to pay

Tuesday, November 25 2014

THE EDITOR: Rain, more rain, torrential rain, floods, disaster. Were we, are we, prepared? It will happen again, perhaps even more disastrously so.


First, did we clean our drains, canals and waterways before the rains began? Secondly, proliferation of mosquitoes, dengue, hundreds of cases of ChikV. Did we go on a wide-ranging eradication programme at the beginning of the rainy season and follow through, for a specific period?


Who suffers the most? People. How many years have we been talking about climate change and what was coming, and which is here today? Since 1989 at least!


What about the shocking destruction on our East Coast? All this will sound familiar to many. Repeat, repeat, repeat, but we continue to try. Have the “powers that be” listened? Are they even listening now? Mammoth construction continues on our coastlines, development in our wetlands, on steep hillsides etc, all without forethought, long-term and proper planning. In particular, planning for eventualities.


Climate change and sea-level rise are here. Is coastline development being planned with that in mind?


Climate change is certainly being felt in small-island states like TT. In fact, the Caribbean is considered to be one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. What does that mean? It means destruction of coastal regions, storm surges with above average swells, flooding, erosion, contamination of groundwater and freshwater aquifers and coastal agriculture. What then will this mean? Serious ecological, health, social and economic impacts. Who will feel it? Everyone, make no mistake. Our continuing to push so-called “progress” without forethought and care; “development at any price” comes at a high price. A price too high to pay.


We must know and anticipate the effects of climate change and take the proper action, to mitigate them. Natural disasters are not all natural. Human activities have been the main cause for the past 200 years. It is time to pay attention now.


Molly R Gaskin


Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust