Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 16, 2020 (SKNIS):
The Department of Environment has taken proactive measures to reduce land degradation in College Street Ghaut as it has been exposed to excessive soil erosion and flooding for many years. Dr. Halla Sahely, GEF-IWEco St. Kitts and Nevis Project Coordinator, explained what is currently taking place to help solve the problem.
“The works began in earnest in January 2020 after a clean-up exercise where excess vegetation and solid waste were removed from the ghaut. The project was aided by the Parks and Beach Unit and a private contractor,” said Dr. Sahely. “The focus of the current works will be on the middle section of the ghaut (approximately 2000 feet) from the bridge adjacent to the Moravian Church up to the bridge that crosses the F.T. Williams Highway. The works are about mid-way through completion. The Public Works Department has been working in close collaboration with the Department of Environment to ensure the success of this project.”
Dr. Sahely said that it is vital at this time to ensure that the ghaut is protected.“The impacts of this land degradation are far-reaching and include public health risks due to flooding and inappropriate disposal of liquid and solid waste, as well as the loss of topsoil, poor water quality at the outlet of the ghaut and contamination of the nearshore environment. Works to reduce and control land degradation inside the ghaut are a critical first step leading to a more proactive way of managing this important environmental zone.
She noted that the main land degradation control measures being implemented are gabion baskets and planting of grasses and trees that will be strategically located inside the ghaut to stem soil erosion. A gabion is a galvanized wire cage, cylinder, or box filled with materials like concrete, stones, sand, or soil. When filled