The Destruction of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary
Destruction of Protected Mangrove and Eco-tourist Site at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary
In June 2019, an extensive environmental laboratory study was completed to assess the impacts to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and surrounding protected mangrove/wetlands area by the neighbouring South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant (the “SCSP”).
Almost a year later, after the complete collapse of the SCSP, it has been confirmed that there are high levels of fecal matter and other pollutants contaminating the Sanctuary and surrounding area. The report recommends the restriction of public access to the lake due to serious health concerns, thereby making it impossible to operate the Sanctuary as an eco-tourist site.
Failures of the SCSP, operated by the Barbados Water Authority, have resulted in numerous discharges of raw sewage into the Sanctuary. The discharges have been occurring since 2005 and almost continuously since late 2017.
For over 10 years, the eco-tourist site and protected wetland has been treated as a conventional wastewater (facultative) lagoon by the South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant.
The Government of Barbados has exacerbated the problems by continuously failing to maintain and operate the sluice gate diligently and responsibly, and as a result, causing further damage to the health of the salt-tolerant mangroves and wildlife.
Here is our new video about this destruction.
Barbados and the Biodiversity Convention: Another broken commitment
Figure 1. Logo of the International Day for Biological Diversity 2020.
During the 1980s, the Government of Barbados, under the leadership of Dame Billie Miller, showed excitement and support in the preservation of the Graeme Hall Wetlands as an ecotourism site and declaring it as a protected area.
On December 10th,1993, Barbados became a party to the Biodiversity Convention and acknowledged that the Graeme Hall wetlands are a major biodiversity resource for the island.
The Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force on 29 December 1993 and its 3 main objectives are:
- The conservation of biological diversity,
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
The United Nations has proclaimed May 22nd as International Day for Biological Diversity. A day that is intended to help increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues worldwide.
As a biodiversity “hotspot”, the Graeme Hall Wetlands have many features that are worthy of conserving:
- It is the last remaining mangrove forest in Barbados,
- It is one of only three primary roost areas for migratory and native waterbirds in Barbados within the Eastern Caribbean Flyway, and
- It is a "living laboratory" offering working opportunities to researchers and scientists to examine native Barbados landscapes.
Unfortunately, the current reality is an ongoing battle to save and protect the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. It has been a difficult fight as the issues go beyond environmental damage and pollution, it is an ongoing battle against corruption.
We are in a crusade to save this beautiful and precious green space in Barbados. Throughout the last decade, the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary has been polluted, contaminated with sewage, and treated as a facultative lagoon in light of the predicted South Coast Sewage Plant failure.
Acts of negligence, lack of leadership and corruption have led to the destruction of a wetland that will no longer be enjoyed by future generations of Barbadians.
The Government of Barbados is eager to build its image as a protector of nature before an international audience by signing the RAMSAR convention and participating as a party to the Convention of Biological Diversity.
We hope that the people in positions of policymaking will realize the dire importance in protecting the greenspace in Barbados and take proactive actions to ensure that the people of Barbados can enjoy it now and into the future.
The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and It's Healing Powers
With half of the world now living under lockdown, the ability to go outside to breathe fresh air has
never been so important. With the presence of COVID-19, it has forced us as individuals to rethink
and challenge what is most important to us.
We hope that the people in positions of policy and changemaking will realize the dire importance
in protecting the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and take proactive actions to ensure that the people of
Barbados can enjoy it now and into the future. Details...
The South Coast Sewage Plant: A Costly and Endless Repair
Since the complete failure of the South Coast Sewage Plant (SCSP), the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary (GHNS) has been used as a facultative lagoon dumping area. The Sanctuary is to be protected as the precious green space it is. Details...
The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary: Why is it important to preserve the mangrove forest?
In creating the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, one of the main goals was to protect the Graeme Hall
Mangrove Forest, in addition to engaging in educational and research initiatives. Details...
The Sanctioned Destruction of the Last Mangrove in Barbados: The Sewage Plant and Sluice Gate
For over two decades, the Government of Barbados (the “Government”) has permitted the destruction of the last mangrove on the island of Barbados through continuous negligent actions, and skillfully using two key weapons: a broken sluice gate and malfunctioning sewage treatment plant. Details...