Fri 10th Oct 2014
Some years ago, Gonsalves compared SVG to Bangladesh. At the time, the comparison seemed strange, but nowadays when you walk around Kingstown it feels like you are in Bangladesh.
Kingstown is dilapidated, dirty, polluted, has poor air quality and stinks. Many Vincentians have complained to the Leader of SVG Green Party, Mr Ivan O’Neal, about how disgusting Kingstown looks and smells. They cannot believe how the ULP regime has neglected Kingstown so much.
Kingstown is a city of filth. There is a lot of litter around and the drains are usually blocked and stinking. Vincentians are being exposed to dirty air and unwittingly breathing in tiny particles of dust and rubbish. Studies have shown that PM2.5 (particulates with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns - about 30 times thinner than the width of a human hair) have significant influences on human health, including premature mortality.
According to World Health Organisation air pollution is the leading cause of death worldwide. Like Kingstown, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, suffers from poor air quality. According to a World Bank funded study, there are an estimated 15,000 premature deaths, as well as several million cases of pulmonary, respiratory and neurological illness attributed to poor air quality in Dhaka.
People living in unhygienic environments as indicated by poor drainage systems, inadequate sanitation, exposure to raw sewerage and piles of uncollected garbage, have higher levels of health problems. In Bangladesh, poor sanitary conditions contribute to approximately 4 million deaths every year, mostly among infants and young children.
Children in poor living conditions have a higher prevalence of diarrhoea, respiratory illness and low birth weight. How many SVG children suffer health problems due to the pollution in Kingstown and elsewhere around our country?
We have seen that in times of heavy rain, litter in Kingstown often accumulates and blocks the drains. This leads to flooding and an increase in breeding sites for mosquitoes. Given that SVG is dealing with an outbreak of Chikungunya, which is spread by mosquitos, it is reckless of the incompetent ULP regime not to deal with the rubbish and drain blockages in Kingstown.
A Green Party government will give urgent attention towards the cleaning up of Kingstown and other polluted areas around SVG that have been neglected by the ULP regime. A cleaner environment not only helps people’s physical health, it improves their mental health too.
Many Vincentians who live abroad, say that they are disgusted by the dirty state of Kingstown when they come back on holiday. SVG should follow the example of countries such as Singapore, Norway and Sweden. They have very clean streets and a high-quality living environment for their people.
Kingstown needs a thorough cleaning, drains sorted out, a serious reduction in the air pollution and more green open spaces, such as small parks with benches, so people can sit down and relax. Dilapidated areas could be turned into parks and this would freshen up the city a lot.
It is ignorance and a lack of vision that has led the ULP regime to turn Kingstown in to a city of filth. The constant exposure to the unhygienic conditions in Kingstown poses a continual risk of disease outbreak.