KINGSTON, December 10, 2021 - The Peoples National Party has lamented the increased rate at which Jamaica has been experiencing environmental degradation highlighted by the lack of adequate land planning legislation, ineffective enforcement, outdated legislation as well as poor communication and engagement with citizens.
In a statement from Shadow Minister of Land Environment and Climate Change, Senator Sophia Frazer Binns, celebrating Human Rights Day 2021, she noted that the day is being comemmorated under the theme “Equality- Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.”
The statement noted that: "As we promote the importance of safeguarding human rights for all individuals, let us take time to examine how protection of the environment and our rights intersect.
The statement observed that "Human rights refer to the set of rules aimed at safeguarding the wellbeing of all individuals, this means that “no individual shall be arbitrarily deprived of these rights”.
It pointed out that "Over many decades climate change and related environmental degradation, have impacted the society’s most vulnerable. Consequently, they are deprived of the ability to enjoy fully, the beauty and perfection of the natural environment. In fact, many are often dislocated from their homes and face grave danger from floods, fires, and other disasters.
As human beings, we depend on the environment for all aspects of life, so abuse and destruction of the environment infringe on our rights and freedoms.
"In Jamaica, those Rights are entrenched in section 13 of the Constitution via the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Constitutional Amendment) Act, 2011. It provides at Chapter 3, Section 13 (3) (I) that [every person in Jamaica has]“the right to enjoy a healthy and productive environment free from the threat of injury or damage from environmental abuse and degradation of ecological heritage, ” the PNP Senator informed.
"The rate at which Jamaica has been experiencing environmental degradation is rapidly increasing. Jamaica’s environment is negatively impacted by the lack of adequate land planning legislation, ineffective enforcement, outdated legislation as well as poor communication and engagement with citizens," Senator Frazer Binns said.
This Human Rights Day, we must mobilize our efforts to give life to the rights to which our people are entitled.
This calls for:
- greater public education on matters of the environment and climate change
- ongoing and simplified conversations on the importance of protecting the environment
iii. promulgation of progressive legislation
- balancing economic growth and environmental protection
"Many of our people are suffering from the destruction caused by the extractive industry. They face ill health, damaged homes, and disrupted livelihoods, caused by the dust nuisance. The poor air quality has taken a toll on persons who suffer from respiratory diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the critical need for clean air," Senator Frazer Binns concluded.