For years now, we have been confronted with charcoal burning and it does not seem any attention has been given to this because this is a continuous issue that has plagued us for so long. Sometimes when we think it is the dump that is burning but it is not the dump, there are individuals burning trees to make charcoal
It seems that charcoal burning is a big business in this country. It is either used for local consumption or exported to other countries or both. I hope it is not used for export because our Customs Department would be aware. Whatever it is used for someone or some people are making money from it and at the same time destroying our trees. We already do not have many trees and this deforestation to make charcoal will make matters worse.
The Department responsible for mitigating this issue is understaffed and therefore in order to deal with this issue, more resources are required even if the Government decides to outsource this to a company to deal with. This must come to an end immediately. We do not need to be afraid to confront these individuals and almost everyone who is engaging in this are non-citizens and they are using land that does not belong to them to carry out this activity. If they are bold enough to do this, then we should be bold enough to stop this. I understand that most of this charcoal burning is far within the land but it does not matter how far or how near, somebody needs to deal with this before it is too late.
The impact of charcoal burning on the environment
Charcoal burning impacts the environment significantly in the following ways.
- It destroys trees and these trees are not replaced. If trees are destroyed, it impacts our climate by contributing to more global warming.
- The emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere takes place as a result of charcoal burning which in turns increase global warming.
- It also results in air pollution
- Charcoal burning also releases some dangerous toxins which creates health issues for individuals
- Charcoal burning is illegal and so we must ensure that we set an example by prosecuting the individuals responsible for this. Once they are found guilty, if you are a non-citizen, then we should deport them. If they are citizens, we need to put them in jail for a long time.
- We need to increase the resources in the Departments to manage this crisis. This is out of hand and the only way to deal with this effectively if we have a dedicated team for this purpose.
- If we are aware of the areas that this is being done, we need to install cameras or we need to have some undercover individuals in the areas so when the individuals are about to make charcoal, they are caught immediately.
I know due to the limited resources the Department has, there is a lot of fear in dealing with the people who are committing this act. Sometimes only one or two persons are on the ground to confront these individuals but these individual are not afraid and so they continue doing what they are doing. Cutting down trees to make charcoal is not good for our environment. It upsets and destroy our climate. This is a shameful act and this is a burning issue that we cannot overlook. Charcoal burning is illegal in the Turks and Caicos and many other countries and so if it is illegal then we need to enforce our law.