NCDs + Air Pollution = Unhealthy Living

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Minister Boyce, Minister of Health

Minister Boyce, Minister of Health

I wish the Minister of Health would stop expounding the half-truth that to avoid becoming another NCD statistic one should partake in a healthy diet […]and exercise,

because the other half of the truth is more destructive than drinking all of the sweet drinks in the world – which was just an excuse for another willy nilly tax, and smoking.

It’s called air pollution!

As far as I understand, not having much education, all of us have to breathe if we want to live. I surmise that even the tax man has to breathe. I also surmise that the Minister of Health has access to the literature on air pollution.

In an article under the headline “Tory lobbying against air pollution smells of political corruption” in “the guardian” online dated 23 August, 2015, it states:

It’s interesting to note how readily modern conservatism degenerates into a defence of corporate malfeasance.

The latest example is the covert lobbying by the British Government to try to weaken European air pollution rules on behalf of the coal industry.

The lobbying took place in the wake of a long series of new scientific findings about the impact of air pollution on human health. If the Government succeeds in undermining the common pollution rules, it is likely to be responsible for deaths that might have been prevented. Studies show that these deaths will be concentrated in the country’s poorer communities.

The latest findings suggest a link between air pollution and the earlier onset of dementia. They appear in just one of many recent papers showing a strong association between high levels of pollution and cognitive decline. Others, for example, show a faster loss of brain volume among older people, reduced verbal IQ among young children and poorer performance by schoolchildren in attention and memory tests.

These augment a vast literature on other health impacts, such as lower birth weight, reduced lung development among children in polluted areas, asthma, heart attacks, strokes, lung and bladder cancers and higher susceptibility to both allergies and infectious diseases.

It is very strange how the Minister of Finance can push through some willy nilly tax in two months, whereas, when it comes to our health it will take the Minister of the Environment at least one year before he is allowed to put anti-air pollution laws on our statute books.

This shows that he is more interested in burdening us with taxes – which he can give away as if they were his – than his health; but I am concerned about mine and the other people in this country’s because the particulates which emerge from diesel vehicles – especially those where the engine is not functioning properly, and the vehicle lays down a smoke screen – are just as bad as those which used to afflict the coal miners as they penetrate the lungs and cause cancer.

Donville Inniss - Minister of Commerce, and International Business going with the FLOW

Donville Inniss – Minister of Commerce, and International Business going with the FLOW

When Donville Inniss was Minister of Health he promised us that laws against the indiscriminate burning of garbage would be coming soon. Soon has not come yet. We will probably have to wait until 2018 before such becomes part of the statute books.

I would like the Minister of Health to explain why he insists on spreading half-truths to the population of this country about not getting an  NCD. We can eat as much healthy food and exercise as much as we want, but we will be only spinning top in mud if we don’t clean up the air in this country!

You can go through any community in this country and someone is burning garbage in it. This is done without a care about the next door neighbour or anyone passing through.

This is why, whenever a law against indiscriminate burning of garbage is put on the statute books, the penalty for this act must be heavy.

If you don’t care about our health, I don’t see why we should care about your pockets!

We need anti-air pollution laws sooner than later!


  • I am not a smoker and have never indulged but do you not find it strange that we have laws prohibiting cigarette smoking in public buildings and now places BUT as your photograph shows above, truck after truck, bus after bus and tractor after tractor can belch enormous volumes of fumes into the air with nary a care to the citizens of this country. You can add the pollution from the cement plant to the list and the number of weeks, months and sometimes years that government with start road repairs and fail to complete within a reasonable time all the while destroying the health of citizens living in the area.

    Yes, tax the sweet drink industry – that will solve the NDC problem. Not!….but its a great way to harvest more money from our pockets.


  • Pollution is not really from burning from bush .my Mother cook on wood more than half her life and she make 100 years from time of bringing( die-sel )Dieselvehicles to Barbados everyone started
    suffering from asma and lung cancer /ZR Mini Buses /BM Buses /Trucks&Vans


  • Fearplay

    True dat! When I speak on these things I am termed as miserable and mad.


  • Carl Moore has open door access to the Nation newspaper and VoB talk shows and where has his advocacy taken this matter?


  • Apart from vehicles on the road we have the air pollution from car repair facilities
    . In Wildey we have been fighting with a major foreign owned garage to control its emissions since 2000 but with little relief . All the children in the neighbourhood are asthmatics. There is a prestigious public primary school downwind of the garage.
    Our parliamentary representative and the Ministry of the Environment do not even acknowledge our emails.


  • No one has mentioned the toxic chemicals that farmers spray on their crops. Next door to me I am having a problem with the farmer who has been spraying almost everyday. I have to close my windows next to the field. It got so bad I had to go and speak to him. He had the gall to ask me if I don’t spray Baygon in my house. I asked him if he can afford my medical bills when I get sick. This lack of concern by the authorities about the indiscriminate use of pesticides and herbicides is alarming.

    I called the environmental Ministry and lodged a complaint. I told them that I am not allowed to burn any garden debris but this man can spray chemicals that drift into my home. When I used to burn garden debris I would use the ashes back in the garden. I also compost but the larger stuff I burn. Now the fire service is called when I burn, who can I call to stop this man from spraying chemicals into my home? The undertaker? The ministry told me that it is agricultural land and they cannot do anything much. I told them that might be the case 50 years ago but the area has developed with many homes now being constructed. I asked how does the Town and Country deem what exactly is agricultural land? I was told that they are now reviewing many areas.

    I have been to the hospital recently to see a dear friend who has cancer, and I was shocked to see many youngish people their with the disease. Many of them I know from schooldays and former places I have worked. There seem to be a very high rate of cancer on this island. The Minister of Health is promoting healthy lifestyles but we are actually eating foods that are contaminated with cancer causing chemicals and believing we are eating healthy.

    Most of these chemicals used in farming have been banned in large countries but the Barbados Government seem to be in bliss about this. We are not far away from what is happening in the French Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe where certain areas of the island people are prohibited to farm and fish because of contamination by chemicals used in the Banana Industry. Chemicals that remain in the soil for a very long time, over 500 years. Unless something is done to address this we will become a contaminated island if we are not there already.


  • Correction …I was shocked to see many youngish people there with the disease.


  • Islandgal,

    We are a very smart people. I’m finding that out more and more every day. Anyway, my son and I are going to be growing our own stuff from next week.


  • Islandgal

    Your argument has some validity and is worth given some consideration to. Last year, I was very shocked to have heard that a good friend mine died of Cancer in Barbados. This young man was just forty-four years of age with a wife and two small children. My younger brother just got back from Barbados, and he said to me on his arrival here that a lot of people I knew in Barbados had died or is dying of Cancer there. And I am not joking because I knew of four former mounted-police who have died of Cancer within the last two year in Barbados. Assistant Superintendent Kevin Breton and former head on the Royal Barbados Mounted Police and a very good friend of mine, died of Cancer last year.


Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s