Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 10th 2014 Contents B2
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 10, 2014
Better be ready
Are you ready for aflood?
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
Floods are the leading cause of
disaster-related death in the
Caribbean, but since most can be
forecast, you should have time to
prepare. Your Red Cross urges you
to get ready. There are simple
steps you can take to help protect
your family from a flood.
Know your area's flood risk. If
unsure, call your Red Cross or
Emergency Management Agency.
If you are in a risk area, investigate
the feasibility of flood insurance.
Know the location of the main elec-
trical breaker and the gas and water
valves in your home and ensure you
have a clear path to easily access
them so that you can shut them off
When a Flood
Warning is issued:
Monitor the radio for weather
updates and evacuate immediately if
you are told to do so.
Move your furniture and valuables to
higher floors of your home or place
them high if possible.
Bring in all loose items from outside,
like garbage cans and yard furniture
for safe keeping.
Turn off the main electrical switch
and other utilities.
Place important documents and
valuables in plastic and store them
in a safe place.
Flood water dangers:
Do not walk through flowing water.
Just six inches of moving water can
knock you off your feet.
Never attempt to cross a swollen
stream, river or gully by foot or
vehicle. The force of these water-
ways can have deadly consequences.
If your vehicle stalls in rising water,
abandon it immediately and climb to
higher ground. A mere two feet of
water can float a large vehicle, even
After a flood:
Clean and dry everything water-
soaked. Flood waters can pick up
sewerage and chemicals from roads,
farms and factories. Spoiled food
and flooded medicines are health
hazards. When in doubt, throw them
Check appliances and motors for
damage and do not use them until
they have been cleaned and dried.
Watch out for wild animals. Snakes
and centipedes that have been
flooded out of their homes may seek
shelter in yours. Use a pole or a
stick to poke and turn items over
and scare them away.
If your home was seriously affected
by the floods and you suspect your
electrical wiring may have been
damaged, have it checked by a quali-
fied person before turning on the
main electrical switch.
Punch holes in all containers left
outside to prevent water from set-
tling and these from becoming
breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Purify water before using. Use chlo-
rine bleach or water purifying
tablets. Boil tap water for ten min-
T&T Red Cross Society
"I started walking from the Bam-
boo Cathedral up to the tracking
station three years ago because of
the natural beauty and wildlife
(howler and capuchin monkeys,
birds, butterflies etc) found in Ch-
aguaramas. After a year, I became
disenchanted by the assault on the
environment with the rubbish that
people left behind week after
week---plastic bottles, snack wrap-
pers, beer bottles, condoms etc. I
came home one day and bound a
broomstick with a six-inch nail. It
made a very effective tool for pick-
ing up rubbish while I walked. I have
upgraded to a medical grabber now.
I walk down the hill with my bounty
in a large garbage bag. I get curious
stares and encouraging words, but I
have only had limited offers of as-
sistance. I'm here every Saturday,
Sunday and public holiday. The
noise pollution of the weekend
J'Ouvert parties and fetes are con-
tributing to the ruin of the one eco-
logical haven left in Port-of-Spain.
The upside on this for me is that my
family supports me and very often
come along providing wonderful
company. I am committed to the
preservation of this area."
Courtesy The People of T&T, July
15, 2014 (via Facebook)
Being the ordinary, everyday
environmentalist requires a com-
pletely new level of "greener
thinking." Adopting "green think-
ing" requires a personal trans-
formation stemming from deep
respect for our earth and its
resources. It is looking at every
object in nature and understand-
ing its value and role in sustaining
a healthy planet for the present
and future generations.
Once we begin to appreciate
every tree, every animal species,
and all the natural elements, we
will begin to have a more envi-
ronmentally responsible attitude
towards our own actions.
The environmentalist in the
above extract performed a task
that many of us refrain from doing,
perhaps because it is not the pop-
ular thing to do or does not yield
any reward. The only reward the
everyday environmentalist receives
is self-satisfaction that he/she has
done his/her small part to preserve
our vast planet.
How many of us have cleaned
up our surroundings after a fete,
a day at the beach/river or an out-
ing with the family at any tourist
attraction? Today, we should all
start our environmentalist journey
and we can do so by examining
regular, daily tasks and think of
ways to make them environmen-
tally responsible---from taking
home plastic bags from the grocery,
to carpooling or walking instead
of driving, and keeping litter on
hand rather than tossing them out
the window of a moving vehicle.
Unfortunately, T&T is notorious
for creating "litter zones" along
our roadsides, green spaces, beach-
es and rivers.
This is not only an eyesore for
citizens, but the many tourists who
visit our shores and give reviews
about our country s scenic beauty.
Greening our homes is one way to
become an everyday environmen-
talist. We can use old plastic bot-
tles, containers, soft drink cases
for planting seasoning or any other
ornamental plants around the
home. We can reduce our energy
consumption by turning off lights
when leaving a room, unplugging
unused appliances or cell phone
chargers after use and using energy
efficient bulbs. When buying gro-
ceries, we should try to purchase
more locally grown produce, as
food transportation from distant
sources leaves behind a significant
carbon footprint. We can also con-
sider buying eco-wares instead of
Styrofoam and plastics, and con-
sider the amount of packaging
materials we would have to discard
after the groceries have been
And as a general rule, we should
practice taking our own reusable
bottles of water to work, school
or while running errands. By
adopting these practices in our
daily routines, we will begin to
understand that our resources are
not infinite and that there is a
future generation depending on
our conservative habits.
Haley A Wilhite, a philanthropy
assistant for The Nature Conser-
vancy in Florida, presented an
account of her mission as an every-
day environmentalist. "As a long-
time environmental steward of the
earth, my personal mission has
been to clean-up litter wherever I
can. I also share this mission with
others, especially my own friends
and family. For many years, I have
served as an advocate against lit-
tering. Any person who has spent
time with me knows if I m around,
you re not going to throw that gum
wrapper on the ground and get
away with it! So whether I m just
walking in and out of a business
or riding down the road, I always
try to do my part to keep our envi-
Like Haley, and our unsung hero
in the first story, let us become
responsible citizens of the earth.
It is said that your habits become
your character, and adopting sound
environmental practices can build
the moral fibre of our society.
For more information visit
If you have any comments or
would like to contribute to this
column please respond to ema-
The unsung hero
Being an everyday environmentalist...
These volunteers clean up debris from the beach.
This citizen is on a mission to clean-up litter in Chaguaramas. He is committed to
the preservation of the area.
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