Environmental damage and protecting the blue economy

Dear Editor,

The pristine waters and clean atmosphere of The Bahamas have suffered so much by way of pollution, especially from the cruise ship industry. Some of the cruise ships that enter our waters are floating cities, with needs similar to that of one of an entire inhabited island. They generate waste from their grocery items in the form of paper and plastics, liquid waste from the water usage, and the pollution they create from their power generation is equivalent to that of The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).

One engine on a cruise ship burns up to 270,000 gallons of bad dirty fuel, and some ships have three or more engines. One ship alone can produce more carbon than one million cars in one day. Why, oh why, do cruise ships still burn foul and polluting fuels when in our harbors? Can’t we yet provide shore power for them, or are they not inclined to cover the costs?!

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $200 million policy-based guarantee loan for the advancement of a blue economy. The blue economy is such a beautiful and satisfying thought; the harmony of commercial enterprise operating responsibly in our oceans.

“The blue economy is a coordinated approach to climate change and climate risk solutions, environmental sustainability, and economic growth, by strengthening oceanic ecosystems and optimizing the use of marine resources,” the IDB said.

“The initiative also includes reforms geared at risk management in coastal and offshore areas, promoting better management of marine resources, and reducing marine pollution”.

I ask the IDB to take their fiduciary responsibility to ensure that this funding is used for the betterment and preservation of our oceans.

The IDB is responsible for ensuring that the government of The Bahamas enacts laws to properly govern our oceans, and any business created will adhere to a standard that will guarantee the protection of the marine environment.

What laws in The Bahamas speak specifically to the vision of the blue economy? What laws will you enact to ensure that there is a symbiotic relationship between commercial enterprise and environmental protection?

I hold the IDB responsible for ensuring that their loan creates a true blue economy that will endure for a long time. The blue economy requires legislative governance and as part of this loan, legislation should be passed to protect the environment.

Otherwise, the IDB would be complicit in the destruction of our environment due to providing funding for the massacre of our marine environment. You are more than a money lender; you need to ensure that our oceans remain viable in order to repay our debt.

The IDB has a responsibility to build resilience and that will come through good and proper legislative infrastructure.

The IDB bank knows that the legislative infrastructure is not sufficient to govern the next 25 years of clean growth and development. You need to ensure that it’s in harmony with First World principles.

There will be no blue economy without clear and proper governance of the marine environment.

Joseph Darville

Chairman, Save The Bays

Director, Waterkeepers Bahamas

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