Stop Pollution In Balaclava [CITIZEN ACTION STORY]

Posted on April 27, 2011 in Environment, GlobeScope, Volunteerism

By Radhika Ghose:

What’s the word that’s just popped into your head; Romantic getaway? An Island paradise with a variety of “beach shopping” and culture in addition to the marine life, casinos and nightlight, adventure sports including sky diving and deep-sea diving and brimming with culture — should give you the perfect answer.

Image courtesy: STOP POLLUTION IN BALACLAVA group on Facebook.

But how about a place, where the residents have to close their windows if they wanted to stay out of hospital? I was aghast to hear, that a recent acquaintance of mine, had just been released from hospital, as she was exposed to toxic waste and bad odor from chemical waste which was being illegally dumped by Consolidated Fabrics Limited — impacting the Riviere Citron, which crosses through Balaclava a tourist hot spot in Mauritius and ends in the Turtle Bay Sea.

While this issue consistently and regularly damages the lives of the residents of Balaclava, there is a chance this mess will be soon cleared as the members of the Balaclava Residents Association, are actively involved in holding the factory accountable.

My acquaintance Katherine Roberts, a founding member of the Association, editor of the newsletter and a travel writer by profession, said she was admitted to hospital on Saturday night, 16th of April, suffering from chest pain, cough, sore throat, giddiness and nausea. At the time the smells on the morcellement were unbearable. She also said on return to her residence, she heard that many people including children were suffering from similar symptoms. So she decided to call a meeting where all the residents those all ready suffering and those who wanted to change the situation, should attend.

Another resident- Kate Ah Young decided to create a Facebook group a week ago to spread awareness and reach out to other members, Stop Polluting In Balaclava, which now has 467 members (at the time of publishing) and provides up to date details about the proceedings of the meetings, newspaper articles and press coverage as well as photographs.

So why have I shared this single issue when environment pollution is no secret to any of us? It’s not just the issue that has caught my attention, but what is being done about it. There are environmental effects on people as well as the marine life; and more will appear over the coming days and weeks.

This aside, they have proved what being active on Facebook, for the right reasons can really do!

What needs to be highlighted is the fact that the residents are making a continuous effort to save the environment and themselves from mortal danger. One may argue that they are a small group and that’s why it may be easier for themselves to organize themselves and the meetings; but it does take a single person and his/her effort to make a difference. These are the kind of resident associations we need to aspire to have.

On another note, the President of India is dining in Balaclava as you read this article.