The environment is the substrate that sustains our national development. Policies should ensure that our natural resource base is properly managed and protected so that it can continue to support the socio-economic wellbeing of our country.
A national land use policy should be developed to protect critical marine areas, watersheds and lands with environmental and cultural significance.
Deforestation is having a negative impact on soil stability and integrity, water capture, water availability, biodiversity and marine life. A comprehensive program of reforestation and, where necessary, afforestation, should be undertaken.
Like many Caribbean countries, Saint Lucia has a very rich biodiversity. There are several species that are endemic or threatened and which require particular attention, such as the Saint Lucia racer, the Saint Lucia whiptail, the Saint Lucia blackfinch, the Saint Lucia oriole, the Pencil cedar, the Acajou (or red cedar), and the Gayak or lignum vitae. Conservation plans should be put in place to ensure the protection and management of these and other threatened fauna and flora.
Similarly, there are ecosystems that are essential for the environmental integrity of our country, such as the Pointe-Sable Environmental Protection Area, the Pitons Management Area, the Mandele Dry Forest, Pigeon Island National Landmark, the Government Forest Reserve, and our mangroves. These areas must be placed under an active protection and management plan, with clear legislation to protect them from harmful activities and infrastructure developments.
The successful model of marine management areas that has been used for Soufriere and Anse La Raye-Canaries should be extended to create a national marine management authority.
Public education, community empowerment, partnerships with non-Governmental and other civil society organisations are important tools in the arsenal to manage our natural resources and should be used strategically.
All public agencies should be mandated to make environmental protection a core element of their programs. Developments that threaten or degrade the environment should not be permitted.
There should be a Zero-Landfill Policy that places a limit on the importation of non-biodegradable products like styrofoam and plastic bags that are harmful to our environment and encourages the recycling of most of our waste material into energy and other useful products.