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Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes…

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Two months ago, close to 20,000 persons living in de Orange and Red Zones, de danger areas located within close
distances of de Volcano, were within hours evacuated from dey homes. Some were placed wid relatives, others in private homes, Shelters (Schools, Churches, Community Centres). People all over de world witnessed de live coverage of our Volcanic erupt-shun. Lovely Sat-ah-light photographs, actually ‘Angels of Death’ hidden in beautiful mushroom clouds, containing millions of tons of Volcanic Ash wid toxic gases from our Volcano.

While de Ashes was pile-in-up, Lie-Za, my side-kick, asked why couldn’t we use some ah de Ashes foh construction, sea defense or Agriculture. She believes in she Google, so she went looking foh “Dos and Don’ts” foh Orange and Red Zone people now being forced to return to live in dey homes, engulfed in Volcanic Ash. She sent me de results from Google and I quote: “Exposure to Ash can be harmful. Infants, elderly people, and people with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and other chronic lung diseases may have problems if they breathe in volcanic Ash. Ash is gritty, abrasive, sometimes corrosive, and always unpleasant. Small Ash particles can abrade (scratch) the front of the eye. Particles of Ash may contain Crystalline Silica (as in Montserrat), a material that causes a respiratory disease called silicosis.” De article continues: “ Crystalline Silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen (potential cancer agent), and can cause serious lung disease and lung cancer. It only takes a very small amount of respirable silica dust to create a health hazard.”

Dis is scary and dey must be some serious Environmental Implications foh us in all ah dis. It cannot be business as usual foh our citizens, especially ole people and young children, being unpleasantly pushed back to go home in de Red and Orange Zones. Ah month ago ah release said dat ‘the volcano may resume explosions with less than twenty-four hours of notice.’ De Volcano still letting off Toxic Gas, and dey’s tons of Volcanic Ash all around homes. Let us show more feelings foh our indigenous people.

Am appealing to de Garifuna Chief himself, Acting Prime Minister Gomry Daniel, resident in, and Pull-it-tek-all Representative of de North Windward Red Zone area. Lie-Za calls him Mr My-dust, says he held some Suffrey Dust in his hand and swears it turned into Gold. All jokes aside, ah want Gomry to set up ah Press Con-friends way Local Journalists will be allowed an uninterrupted interview wid de Scientists or Volcanologist, along wid Hell’t Officials, to get real answers about de Hell’t and safety challenges awaiting our people going back in de Danger Zones.

Lie-Za wants to know if Go-venom-mint, thru its Public Hell’t Authority, testing and monitoring de level of toxic materials, in particular “Crystalline Silica” present in de Ashes. She is concerned about de safety of de Hell’t of de hundreds of workers shoveling up tons of Volcanic Ashes and Dust along de road, next to homes.

Prevent-shun is better dan cure, but ah strongly believe dat wid all dis Dust and Ashes bout de place, especially in de Red and Orange Zones, dat not long from now, ah lot ah people are likely to develop serious Respiratory problems, who knows we might have to listen to ah lot ah “Dust to Dust and Ashes to Ashes” Sermons. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.

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