Zoning, Congestion and Pollution -a Time to Plan
Submitted by Anthony Davis
If Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins had his way, school children in Barbados would be walking to school, instead of driving there, as a means of easing some of the current congestion on this country’s roads. “However, the Town & Country Planning Department top official said the proposal for full zoning of this island’s primary and secondary schools continues to run into a major roadblock put up by education officials. – Zone them, Barbados Today 1 March 2017
Dear Mr. Cummins, let me start with the last part of this lecture which you gave first. I hope your colleagues of this illustrious regime heed your words, as this is what we all have been saying all along.
Talking about congestion: What about the congestion on Bay Street?
Wouldn’t that monstrosity which you are allowing to be built opposite Bethel Methodist church cause more congestion than we already have on that stretch of road, or will these be such high rollers that they will have a helipad at their disposal?
I hope that you can take the consequences of your folly by allowing it to be built in a UNESCO designated space!
Zoning sounds like a good proposition. It would have the following advantages:
1) Lessen the air pollution
2) Decrease the number of obesity cases
3) Decrease the congestion
On the other hand the children will directly inhale the exhaust fumes – especially the diesel particulates which go directly into the lungs like the coal particulates which cause cancer, and they will be exposed to those who put the pedal to the metal everywhere they go.
Primary school students would have short attention spans. They could be walking along quite normally for a while, but it only takes one to start pulling at the other, and the group would forget where they are, and then an accident is not far away.
Many schools are already built where there’s a high volume of traffic, so the students, teachers and auxiliary staff are being exposed to high pollution levels.
No amount of eating healthy and exercising can stop some of them from contracting one NCD or the other!
The Minister of the Environment promised in 2015 that anti-pollution laws are on the cards for next year. I don’t know what he meant by next year because the next year has come and gone, and it doesn’t seem as if we’ll get them this year either. He’s talking about green energy, but is including waste-to-energy, gas and oil. I don’t know what those three have to do with green energy.
Seeing that Barbados is a country where there is one law for the Medes, and another for the Persians, some people will still be allowed to send their scions to whichever school they prefer.
When one drives past Luther Thorne on mornings/afternoons when the students are being taken to/picked up from school one sees vehicles with number plates marked L, E, P, etc., yet those who live in the vicinity cannot get their children into that school.
With the high schools it’s the same thing, only that parents will mostly have to accept the school for which their offspring has passed.
Still some of them will be able to get their children into the school of their choice.
If people cannot get the necessary transport to get to and from work, how do you expect them to be productive?
They spend two to three hours standing in the terminals so they will get to work late, and they will obviously be frustrated by the time they get there. It isn’t as if when they get the bus they’ll be there in five minutes. Many of the commuters have an hour to travel before they get to work. How do you expect them to start work immediately?
Many of them have to get up at three in order to prepare something for their scions and themselves. They also have to make sure that the children have everything they need for the day in their bags. On evenings the reverse is true. Two or three hours waiting for a bus, then a one-hour journey home for some of them. When they arrive home they are tired and frustrated, and therefore are sometimes no use to themselves nor their scions.
How are they – especially if they are females running single-parent households – to help their children with their homework or whatever else?
You will not have a productivity increase if public service transport remains the way it is at present, so you will still be spinning top in mud.
In First World countries which I’ve visited the public service transport runs like clockwork. If a bus/train/tram is scheduled to arrive at 6.05, then one can rely on it being there. Even in winter such transport is seldom later than ten minutes. That’s why countries like Germany, Britain, the USA, Canada, and others are where they are. Give the people proper public service transport, and stop trying to bully them into doing something which is not attainable without it.
Another thing is that some employers don’t pay their employees the wages they deserve, and get away with it. Some of them don’t pay their part of the NIS, which they are supposed to pay, for years.
World Health Organization, 6 March, 2017, Geneva:
Environmental pollution kills 1.7 million children each year.
More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments. Every year, environmental risks – such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene – take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years, say two new WHO reports.”
In 2014, 92% of the world population was living in places where the WHO air quality guidelines levels were not met.