FIVE TO THRIVE: SUPPORT THE ANTIGUA ENVIROBILLThursday 8th January 2015
The Government of Antigua & Barbuda is considering a new law to help protect and maintain the environment. This proposed Act is called the Environmental Protection and Management Bill. In support of the bill, the EAG has created the "Five to thrive" camapign.
Five reasons to support the Environmental Protection and Management Bill of 2014
“Five to thrive”
#1: Quality coasts for fishing and swimming – Human activity creates waste, and most of this waste ends up in our waterways and coasts – up to 85% of wastewater entering the Caribbean Sea is untreated. The Bill regulates harmful pollutants and makes the polluter pay. The Bill protects wetlands – 9 in Antigua and 5 in Barbuda – which naturally filter water to improve quality and act as nurseries for marine life. This legislation is designed to keep our waters clean, fishable, swimmable, attractive to visitors, and safe for us to enjoy.
#2: Cleaner air, healthy lungs – Breathing polluted air threatens human health because our lungs are entryways to our body. The Bill regulates a number of air pollutants, including some that are cancer-related, and takes special measures to safeguard air quality near people’s homes and workplace.
#3: Prepare for climate change – Weather patterns are changing, and we must change too. Development that clears trees and builds in watersheds and drainage areas increases flood risks for everyone. Removing vegetation dries out the land and increases local temperatures. The Bill protects watersheds that will help combat landslides, erosion, floods, droughts, and rising temperatures.
#4: Rich biodiversity, new livelihoods - The Bill protects a list of plants and animals that are native and endemic (found only in Antigua & Barbuda), and gives communities rights to local knowledge, innovations and practices related to local biodiversity. We have 1,150 species of terrestrial plants, rich marine life, endangered vertebrates such as the Antiguan racer snake, and 180 species of birds – birding is a fast growing niche in tourism worldwide. The Bill supports livelihoods in ecotourism and careers in environment-related fields, with new research and training opportunities.
#5: Funding for sustainable development – Financing is where laws and policies often fall short of goals, but the Bill has come up with a creative solution. The Sustainable Island Resources Framework Fund or “SIRF Fund” will raise money to achieve the provisions of the Bill, and 15% of the Fund annually will be dedicated to projects by non-governmental and community-based organizations.
The Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) is a non-governmental, membership-based organization with over 25 years of experience conserving Antigua & Barbuda’s natural resources. The EAG strongly supports the proposed Environmental Protection and Management Bill – this policy brief explains why.
The Environment Division in the Ministry of Health and Environment started the effort to pass this Bill in 2007, and has received much support, including from the EAG. We are now at a critical point in Antigua & Barbuda’s growth to pass this Bill and build the economy in the best interest of all citizens and future generations.
Show your support! Share your reasons for supporting the Bill on Facebook and Twitter. Tag @EAGantigua and use the hashtag #ANTIGUAENVIROBILL #Antigua #Barbuda
Click here to view the Antigua Observer's Article on this, titled "EAG hopes for Parlimentary Approval of new Environmental Bill".
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