A systemic and aggressive plan to rid the country of its rodent problem is underway, according to Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Vaughn P. Miller.
Despite the Ministry’s robust derelict vehicle removal program, collecting garbage twice weekly in residential areas and other efforts, the rodent problem prevails and therefore, a rodent control initiative has been launched. This week, the Ministry implemented a digital system of rodent surveillance that will back the physical efforts to rid the streets of these pests.
A workshop is currently underway where Ministry officials are working along with the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) to address the issues of quantifying rodent populations. PAHO/WHO is conducting training for the Department of Environmental HEalth Services (DEHS) on data collection and analysis, geographic information systems, rat trapping and pathogen identification.
Over-the-Hill areas of New Providence will become the sites of the pilot program. Special attention will also be paid to areas such as the Potters Cay Dock, Montague Beach Ramp, Junkanoo Beach, Nassau Cruise Port and Bay Street. These vulnerable areas will undergo sustained rodent population reduction efforts.
Addressing the House of Assembly during the Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Miller said in order to provide backing for the rodent control initiative, new legislation will be presented, along with guidelines for food establishments. In addition, environmental district stewards will be hired to monitor all constituencies digitally capturing violations for active investigations and prosecution for those who fail to follow environmental laws. Local pest control companies will also have the opportunity to be engaged in the rodent control initiative.
This summer, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources will launch a national beautification program that will touch all major Bahamian islands over a two-year period. The program will result in more useful green spaces for residents, and their neighbourhoods will benefit from more curbside appeal. Contractors will be hired to assist with removal of derelict vehicles, bulk waste removal, barging, painting and more.
Minister Miller recently returned from a high-level meeting established only for Ministers of Environment from various countries for the respective parties at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the UN Stockholm +50 Conventions in Stockholm, Sweden.
The BRS Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
The Bahamas delegation, led by Minister Miller, included: H.E. Patricia Hermanns, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of The Bahamas to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva – Geneva, Switzerland; Keith Philippe, Sr. Environmental Officer, Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP); Sasha Dixon, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of The Bahamas to the United Nations Office, Geneva; and Launa Williams, Analyst, DEPP
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