Understanding How Pollution is Affecting Our Wellbeing
Submitted by Anthony Davis
Pollution, pesticides and fast food are killing our children with new Government statistics revealing that the number of youngsters diagnosed with cancer has risen by 40% over the past 16 years. Analysis compiled by researchers from the charity Children with Cancer UK found new cases of cancer in young people rose by 1300 every year statistics were last compiled in 1998. The charity found this is most evident in colon cancer which has increased by 200% and thyroid cancer which has seen its cases doubled during the 18 years since the last report was released.
This pertains to the UK that, up until Brexit, was a member of the EU which has very stringent anti-air pollution laws. What do you think it is like in Barbados, Mr. Minister of the Environment, where everything and anything goes with respect to whether the air is polluted or not – especially as several people are putting forward various reasons as the panacea for reducing NCDs?
One can exercise as much as one wants, eat as much health food, and drink as many health drinks as one wants, one is only spinning top in mud if the air is as polluted as the filters in some of the stacks across the island. As the article rightly says, we cannot avoid air pollution, because we must all breathe.
I always smile when I see so many people exercising along the roads in Barbados, because they are doing something for some parts of their bodies, and not taking what is going into their lungs, and therefore directly their heart, into consideration. One sees many diesel vehicles belching black exhaust fumes into the environment, and these are the worst polluters of the environment. They contain CO2, NO2 and, worst of all, particulates which are so small that they go directly to the lungs thereby causing the type of lung cancer which those who work in coal mines contract after a number of years. Add to those the magnetites which have been discovered by Prof Barbara Maher in the brain, and we have a ticking time bomb.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) lies on one of those roads which sees a high volume of traffic on a daily basis, so the air which goes into that building will not be helping the patients there to get well. Also, people in this country are allowed to burn garbage, and anything else they feel like burning, whenever they like without the slightest regard for their next door neighbours, and those who are traversing the relative community. Those with lung disorders will be affected while travelling through any community in this island, when someone is burning something or the other, and I would suggest that those who suffer from asthma – especially children who are heading to school – always travel with their inhalers!
The Minister of the Environment, who says that he travels frequently, promised anti-air and -noise pollution legislation for this year, but it seems that all we’ll get once again are more taxes!
Yet another promise which is destined to be broken.
They say that enemies’ promises are made to be broken.
However, the year has not finished yet. He still has four months to make good his promise but, seeing that it was not mentioned in the budget, I guess that nothing will come of that this year.
Let me digress here.
The tax collector tells us not to panic because of the newest addition to the VAT, but why should we panic?
We’re accustomed to getting a new tax with every new budget.
The next problem is fast food.
I see it as a way of getting more taxes when more and more fast food restaurants are being allowed to be built at an alarming rate.
The tax collector said that sweet drinks are unhealthy, so he put an extra tax on them.
They are still the most drinks being sold – especially at fast food restaurants.
According to the same report, “burgers will remain in the colon for longer if the child does not exercise, thus increasing the risk of cancer.”
On the one hand tax was put on unhealthy foods, but on the other the tax collector removed fish, of all things, which is rated as being a healthy food from the basket of goods which are zero-rated.
Is he telling us that we had better go to fast food restaurants where we don’t have to pay so much for their fare?
Is it any wonder when more and more people – especially females – are becoming so fat?
What does the Minister of Health have to say to all of this?
Surely this comes under his portfolio, and so he should be standing up for what is healthy in this country, by making such legislation that would bring down the price of health food, because not many people can pay those prices nowadays, instead of just toeing the line.
The more people who get cancer – especially our children, and I mean really our children, not only those of certain people in our society, the greater burden will be placed on the QEH.
Another factor is the use of mobile phones.
One sees many people – especially females – walking around with their mobile phones clamped to their ears.
Some get on the bus with one to their ears and still have them there when they get off after one hour’s journey.
How much radiation comes from those phones?
The manufacturers say that the jury is out on how much radiation is emitted from them, so what does that tell us? It tells us that we should not be holding them to our ears for any prolonged period.
There’s a lot of talk about more children being procreated, but you are killing them off by not having any anti-air pollution legislation on our Statute books!
It is high time to clean up the air in this country!
So, members of this “people-centred Government”, the ball is in your court to make sure that the populace of this country can live as healthy a life as possible by putting anti-air and noise-pollution legislation in place!