An Anti-litter bill has been tabled in Parliament by government last Friday in the face of the emergence of the Zika V Virus.
According to Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele there is need on the island to keep mosquitoes at bay in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Zika V virus exhibits the same symptoms as the Chickungunya virus that plagued Grenada and several other Caribbean islands in 2014 due to the presence of the Aiedes Aegypti mosquito, which was blamed for the Chik-V epidemic.
Health Minister told a sitting of the Lower House that the Ministry of Health is monitoring the virus to ensure that it does not enter Grenada’s shores and the Anti-Litter bill is very important in this regard.
“All of us are aware that part of the breeding of mosquitoes is with the litter, the bottles etc that are thrown recklessly on the side of the road at various villages and so on”, he said.
“.., The Anti Litter bill seeks to remedy this to deal with it aggressively. I think now is the time, we are all aware of the cost to the nation and personal cost to us all. We have put all possible mechanisms in place to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and if it is inevitable, the world is a smaller place, that we put the proper mechanisms in place to prevent it running through our society as other viruses have done in the past,” he added.
The Abatement of Litter Bill, 2015 seeks to make better provision for the control and punishment of persons engaged in depositing of litter in public places and other related matters.
Some of the litter highlighted in the bill to likely cause serious risk to health and safety are carcasses of animals, derelict vehicles, abandoned machinery, and abandoned white goods and used Tyres.
The bill received support from other members of the house, which is made up of only MP’s from the ruling New National Party (NNP).
Parliamentary Representative for St Mark, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen referred to measures to be implemented by the Health Ministry including fogging that will be done to control mosquitos.
“They (are) on the ball, they will be fogging but we know that fogging does not get rid of the mosquitoes… but the citizens – we do not say to ourselves what are we actually doing to create that conditions for mosquitoes – because the life cycle is very short for the Mosquito to go from egg to the adult…”, she said.
Dr. Modeste-Curwen noted that citizens are contributing highly to the breeding of these Mosquitoes.
Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew North-west, Delma Thomas welcomed the new bill as it can not only address the Zika V virus but also help in preventing other diseases.
“We have also seen an increase in Cancers and so on and we are not aware, whether or not environmental factors are responsible for that”, she said.
“…When this new law and the persons are cleaning up the environment
and keeping their place clean we might see a decline in the amount of those diseases that we have seen in the last couple of years”, she added.
Minister of Youth, Emmalin Pierre also rose to give support to the new anti-litter bill and stated that every citizen has a responsibility to assist in protecting the environment.
However, she singled out construction workers as a group of persons that have no regard for the environment based on her observations and related a personal encounter
She said: “Construction workers would literally load a truck of debris from a construction site and head toward the Seamoon beach and dump it there and I recall in one case a Police Officer had to literally journey to the beach to get that person to reload the truck and find another location”, she said.
Minister Pierre called on Grenadians to show greater awareness and be more responsible in matters of the health of the environment.
“…Every one of us must see ourselves as responsible. It’s the same as saying tourism is everybody’s business and protection of the environment should be everybody’s business,” she remarked.