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Ban on backyard burning in Barbados

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We are petitioning the Ministry of Health along with the Ministry of Energy and the Environment in Barbados to institute a ban on backyard burning.


Years ago, before the sanitation services were as efficient at they now are, it was commonplace for a householder to dispose of some household and garden waste by burning it. While it may have been seen as a nuisance back then, one could argue that choices of disposal were limited.  

Fast forward 20 years..our sanitation service levels have increased by leaps and bounds, and recycling and composting are viable alternatives. We also have neighbourhoods which are more populated and the number of persons with respiratory ailments is increasing daily.

What's wrong with backyard burning?

Air pollution

Burning household and garden waste produces smoke – especially if that waste is green or damp. This will emit harmful pollutants including particles and dioxins. Burning plastic, rubber, foam cushions or painted materials creates noxious fumes that give off a range of poisonous compounds.

Health Effects

Air pollution can have damaging health effects, and people with existing health problems are especially vulnerable, e.g. asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions, children and the elderly.


Smoke, smuts and smell from backyard fires have long been a source of a significant number of complaints to local authorities every year. Smoke prevents neighbours from enjoying their gardens, opening windows or hanging washing out, and reduces visibility in the neighbourhood and on roads. Empty house lots near homes can cause problems if land owners persistently burn green waste, and leave fires smouldering.


Fire can spread to cane fields, pastures, other lots, buildings or fences and can scorch trees and plants. Exploding bottles and cans are a hazard when rubbish is burned. Piles of garden waste are often used as a refuge by rodents. We have heard callers on the radio and seen letters in the newspaper written by people who say that have been cursed and threatened when they try to speak to offenders and this causes others to consider it a lost cause and suffer in silence.

By signing this petition, you are supporting the call for a ban on this inconsiderate act which is perpetrated by some and which results in an unpleasant experience for many. Please support this cause.


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