The first in a series of toxicology workshops, held as part of an organic farming project by the Belle Vue Farmers Cooperative, discussed the effect of toxins on the environment and human health.
The Environmental Hygiene Specialist connected to the project, Lesmond Magloire, said the workshop targeted various stakeholder groups, including farmers.
“We were able to train about134 persons,” he said. “They were from different groups, skills sets and knowledge bases. For instance, there were government extension agencies, businesses, the commercial sector, farmers, housewives, some utility companies—basically, they were from all over the island.”
The workshop, held at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, stressed the importance of reducing chemical use.
“We had a series of lectures about chemicals that discussed, for example, the difference between poisons and remedies, environmental toxicology, how the body responds to toxins, and the target organs that chemicals can affect. we were also able to make people a little more aware of what is being done by governments to reduce chemicals in the environment at the national level, at the regional level, and at an international level.”
The organic farming project also aims to make disease-related toxicology data more readily available.
“This GEF project is about data collection, data management, and information management that will lead assessors to make the determination as to how certain chemicals affect human health, so that our people will have information and with knowledge and information they can make informed decisions,” said Anthony Herman, Project Coordinator at the Belle Vue Farmers Cooperative.
The project will also educate housewives on the care of organic backyard gardens, and aims to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in school gardens.