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Please warn residents before fogging starts

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15.SEP.06

Editor: What is the procedure being followed to spray for mosquitoes?

There is no warning to the residents. The first sight of the fogging in our area was in the mangrove. The mangrove feeds directly into the water we swim in and fish in down at Salt Pond in Prospect. Diesel fuel was used in the mangrove according to the Vector Control Division.{{more}}

Salt-marsh mosquitoes may drive you crazy, but they won’t make you sick. They aren’t disease-vectors. The diesel fuel used is a pollutant to water. This type of mosquito control has been stopped in other countries.

It is a good thing the egrets left the rookery two months ago because of a careless act of burning by a group of picnickers at Salt Pond. It was a beautiful sight to witness the flocks of over 100 birds gracefully ascend out of the valley with the deep green foliage of the mountains as a backdrop at sunrise. After their daily ritual the egrets would return to the tip of the mangrove, front row seats, you might say, roosting in the trees, chattering to each other while the sun set over the bay.

We often wondered if they would ever return. Perhaps, it was the dry season that was also keeping them away. Two weeks into the raining season, we had a sighting from our favorite observation point our porch; it offers a clear view of the mangrove. Excitedly, we watched as the egrets reappeared. They came first in small groups and roosted in the trees near our home. The valley once again had been filled with the elegant creatures. But they only stayed for a short while as if to check on the mangrove and have not been back since.

A set of new circumstances now surrounds the rookery. Excessive building with no distance from the nesting site has disturbed the peace and privacy of the egrets. The cutting and clearing of land on the opposite side of the mangrove, again with no buffer zone, has caused another disturbance in the balance. St. Vincent may have lost the beloved egret habitat at the southern tip of Salt Pond with the added stress of spraying may have sealed their fate.

The next evening while driving home we encountered a truck spraying a heavy fog of insecticide. The driving visibility was so obscured we could not see the vehicles around us causing a driving hazard. Not to mention the pedestrians who receive a full blast of the insecticide directly. On the roads a chemical called Malathion was used in conjunction with Control 33. Malathion’s safety is currently being reviewed by the EPA. Many health agencies believe it is a carcinogenic and are calling for a reconsideration in the labeling of the product. If the people who are spraying the insecticide are wearing masks for protection, why aren’t the residents warned about the spraying so that they can stay off the roads and choose to remain toxin free? Many people are severely allergic to pesticides. Also the driving hazard it imposed it would have been in order to have a police escort to block traffic so the trucks could proceed and give the air a chance to clear.

St. Vincent has unsurpassed natural beauty. We are stewards of our environment to protect it for future generations and to safeguard our health is to exhibit a higher standard of living.

Mary Stanish Thompson

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