[Coral-List] FW: [SIV Global:] What are the prospects for sensible development?

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Fri Apr 21 11:32:33 EDT 2006

Hi Folks:

Hi All:

Many of you might be interested in this Small Islands list serve.  The issues dealt with on it are very relevant to coral reef conservation, because most reefs (aside form GBR etc) are associated with small islands.  This list-serve has been dealing with practical issues of daily life on these small islands.

Alina Szmant

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Coral Reef Research Group
UNCW-Center for Marine Science 
5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409
Tel: (910)962-2362 & Fax:  (910)962-2410
Cell:  (910)200-3913
email:  szmanta at uncw.edu
Web Page:  http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta

-----Original Message-----
From: www at post.almac.co.uk [mailto:www at post.almac.co.uk] On Behalf Of smallislandsvoice at sivglobal.org
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 11:01 AM
To: notify at sivglobal.org
Subject: [SIV Global:] What are the prospects for sensible development?

                      SMALL ISLANDS VOICE 

                 Do you live in a small island? 
                    Tell us what you think. 


The issues raised in this discussion have been at the forefront of the 
Caribbean development dialogue for some years now, writes Athie Martin from 
Dominica. In some cases, the dialogue about the management of waste has led to 
initiatives in coastal zone management (Barbados), solid waste management 
(Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica) and sewage management (Dominica). In many cases 
the response has been inadequate and inappropriate, leaving these small 
islands even more vulnerable to the impact of waste on our natural 
environment. And the prospects for development that is sensible and 
sustainable have been reduced. 

In the case of coastal zone management, the power of the tourism industry 
coupled with the absence of proper planning, has intensified the effects of 
sea level rise and natural disasters on important coastal fisheries as well as 
coastal settlements. 

Included here are effects of inadequate septic tank and soakaway facilities 
for businesses as well as households; the inappropriate disposal of used 
engine oils; the indiscriminate dumping of solid waste along the coastal 
cliffs; the continued use of agricultural chemicals and their runoff into 
streams and coastal waters; inappropriate arrangements for the anchoring of 
pleasure craft etc. 

The recent construction of new solid waste disposal facilities in several 
Caribbean islands to allow cruise ships to dispose of their garbage in these 
islands is a new twist to the problem, as the number of visitors far exceeds 
the resident population. In the case of Dominica, the resident population is 
70,000, while the annual number of cruise visitors is 300,000. Added to this 
is the fact that the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association helped arrange the 
loan for these new facilities from the World Bank, an institution that 
promotes sustainable development. Now the importation of cruise ship garbage 
is a component of our trade. 

Less than five years ago, the Canadian Government and the Kuwaiti Fund 
financed the construction of a sewage treatment plant in Dominica, which is 
not a treatment plant at all. The plant, located at the mouth of a river in 
the centre of our capital, Roseau, simply removes paper and other solids from 
our sewage and lets the raw sewage out into the coastal waters 200 m offshore. 
Instead of having nine small outfalls, we now have all the sewage from the 
main population centre (almost half the population of the island) being 
released from one large outfall into the coastal waters where our people bathe 
and the visitors snorkel and scuba dive, and where whales live and breed. 

The tragedy is that all attempts by local environmental organizations and 
other interested parties to get the Canadian government officials and the 
consultants to build a tertiary or higher level treatment plant failed. We 
were told that the waters offshore were sufficiently deep and the currents 
would disperse the sewage to the point where it was not a hazard. Does this 
sound familiar to the plight of the Haida Nation in the Queen Charlotte 

The pain for us is that Dominica has been promoting itself as the Nature 
Island of the Caribbean where land and marine ecosystems are in very good 
condition. The design and construction of such a facility by a government that 
prides itself on protecting the environment is a shame. 

The other concern is that governments and the international financial agencies 
are now partners in ignoring the principles of sustainable development so well 
established in the international agreements that our countries have acceded 
to: Agenda 21, the Plan of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small 
Island Developing States, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and 

It seems very important that civil society and community based organizations 
take on the responsibility for protecting and managing our vital resources. 

http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr allows for translation into other languages. 
For those who prefer, you may respond to this forum in Español, Français or 

Title:   What are the prospects for sensible development? 
Author:  Athie Martin 
Date:    Tuesday, 18 April 2006 


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