Confronting the Challenges of Sewerage Management in Island of Barbados

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Master of International Studies
95.803 Business, the Environment and Social Responsibility
Lecturer: Rashid Ameer

Discussion paper
Confronting the challenges of sewerage management in Island of Barbados

Name: Tsoy Evgeniy
ID: 2122207

Due Date: Thursday, 14 June, 2012
An exotic and dwelling place of unique phenomenon attracts millions of tourists every year. This is Caribbean, island of Barbados, paradise in the seventh heaven. The idea that the flowery island is under threat of sewage and waste water management beats everyone’s imagination. “Contamination of coastal water and deterioration of coral reefs have been linked to inadequate disposal of waste water” and poor sewerage management. (Inniss, 2000, p. 85) Large amounts of water are being released into by gullies and open drains. People in small sized cities like Barbados come up with improvised systems what are locally known as “suck wells”. Due to lack of suitable alternative, waste water is discharged without any form of treatment into the ocean thereby polluting the water and harming the ecosystem. (Schuster, 2001, p. 14) This in turn affects tourism industry. Tourism is the main source of income in the island and insanitary conditions, which deteriorate Caribbean coral reefs, seriously threaten the economy of Barbados. The major cause of inadequate disposal of water is a power generating facility at Spring Garden which is produces over 80 % of all west coast waste water, around 440 000 m3 per day from its cooling operation. The residential sector and hotels are estimated to produce over 75 % of the total for the south and west coast, whereas industrial sector produces 5 % but this may contain toxic composites. (Inniss, 2000, p. 85) In additional thriving coastal developments, hotel and towns give rise to sewage discharge and sediment which has negative impact on the water and consequently on the health of the people. A population –water equation being estimated by hydrologist tell us that water stress is 1700 m3per person annual water supplies, meanwhile, water scarcity is a figure below 1000 m3p.p of water supplies per year and figure below 500 m3p.p is absolute scarcity (gop, 2010). According to these figures, island of Barbados with population of 280 000 persons and 300m3p.p of renewable water per year faces water scarcity. Indeed, Barbados ranks top 15 most water-scarce countries in the world. (Johnson & Mwansa, 2007) From this point onward, rapid increase in number of tourists lead to consuming more water. The data from case study clearly illustrates that resorts consume 4 times higher than any residential area on the island. Moreover, global change in environment aggravates its already vulnerable position. Nevertheless, nowadays there are two municipal sewage treatment plant that serve different areas on the island – the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment System (30 years old system) and the south coast Sewage Treatment System (launched in 2003) and several hotels that use package treatment plant. These treatment plants service only 14% of population. West Coast Treatment Sewage Project is still on the stage of development since 1990. Water and sewerage treatment is humble in Barbados and authority awkwardly governs the process thus the system goes belly up. World Bank conducted research in 1976-1986 about maintenance of a sanitation facility and what technologies are affordable and acceptable. The choice was between on-site and off-site systems. On-site technologies were pit latrine, pour-flush toilets, and septic tanks. Off-site technologies included conventional sewerage and low-cost (unconventional) sewerage which is divided into settled sewerage and simplified sewerage. Admittedly, most preferred common sewage treatment schemes in Barbados are on-site technology. Furthermore, a World Bank analysis of 8 large cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America illustrated that conventional...
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