International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Barbados

    Section 16 of the constitution of Barbados ensures that the state can take possession of any property in circumstances where it is:

  • Reasonably necessary to do so because the property is in a dangerous state or injurious to the health of human beings, animals or plants
  • Necessary for the purposes of any examination, investigation, trial or inquiry or, in the case of land, for the purposes of the carrying out thereon of work of soil conservation or the conservation of other natural resources or work relating to agricultural development or improvement

  • The Environmental Protection Department is charged with the task of protecting and improving Barbados' quality of life and its natural and built environment, through the promotion of sustainable practices, education, partnerships and the enforcement of legislation.

Featured Legislation

1969: Section 3 of the Health Services Regulations was introduced, describing a nuisance as any place, matter, thing, deposit or accumulation of liquid or solid matter that is unsanitary, injurious or dangerous to health or likely to become so.

1969: The Health Services (Disposal of Offensive Matter) Regulation was signed, restricting the disposal of offensive matter to approved disposal sites only. The Pesticides Control Act CAP. 395 deals with the management of pesticides in Barbados.

1971: The Radiation Protection Act was created to protect workers against ionizing radiations.

1979: The Wild Birds Preservation Act was instituted, granting provisions for the protection of certain wild birds.

1980: Barbados Water Authority Act was tabled. The Act provides for the constitution of the Barbados Water Authority as a body corporate. The 38 Sections of the Act are divided into 8 Parts: Preliminary (I); Establishment, Constitution and Functions of the Authority (II); Administration (III); Water and Sewerage Works (IV); Finances of Authority (V); Accounts (VI); Miscellaneous (VII); Transitional Provisions (VIII). The Schedule provides for regulation of the Board pursuant to section 7[2]. The Crown may acquire land for any of the Authority’s purposes (sect. 12(1)).

1993: The Fisheries Act was brought into force, providing for the management and development of fisheries in Barbados and the appointment of a Chief Fisheries Officer and a Fisheries Advisory Committee.

1996: The Environmental Levy Act was instituted. This Act prescribes that there shall be imposed on all goods imported into Barbados an environmental levy at a rate specified in the Schedule and that the levy collected shall be used: (a) to defray the cost of the disposal of refuse generated by the use of such goods; (b) to defray the cost of operating and maintaining refuse disposal sites; and (c) for the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

1998: The Marine Pollution Act was drafted. This Act makes provision for the control of marine pollution. Release of any pollutant into the environment which violates any of the provisions of this Act is declared an offense under section 3. The Head of the Environmental Engineering Division (called “the Director" in this Act) shall have extensive powers to control marine pollution and in this task shall be assisted by marine pollution control inspectors designated by the Minister under section 5. Director shall investigate the marine environment and shall cause a register of pollutants to be maintained (sect. 4). Sections 9 to 12 deal with powers of enforcement of the Director, inspectors and magistrates. In exercise of their functions the Minister and the Director shall have regard to the coastal zone management plan adopted under the Coastal Zone Management Act. The Director shall investigate the environment in general, and in particular ascertain the extent of pollution for land-based sources, sea-bed activities, dumping, and airborne sources. This public officer shall cause a Register of Pollutants to be maintained and prepare and implement a programme for the reduction of pollutants pursuant to section 4. he shall be assisted by marine pollution inspectors appointed by the Minister under section 5. Regulation defines Regulation making powers the Minister (sect. 13). Penalties are prescribed in section 16.

1998: The Marine Pollution Control Act was passed, preventing, reducing, and controlling pollution of the marine environment of Barbados from whatever source.

1998: The Coastal Zone Management Act was approved, containing provisions for the effective management of the coastal resources of Barbados.

2004: The Barbados Sustainable Development Policy was drafted to ensure the optimization of the quality of life for every person by ensuring that economic growth and development does not occur to the detriment of our ecological capital.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • According to a 2020: CARICOM report, climate change can exacerbate crime, unemployment and environmental degradation in Barbados. Considered a small island developing state (SIDS), Barbados has succumbed to the destructive impacts of natural hazards: hurricanes, severe weather events, drought and sea-level rise. According to the report, climate change will multiply these threats, leading to rising temperatures; flooding; changing precipitation patterns; and ocean acidification. Such natural disasters threaten the human security of coastal communities, whilst amplifying existing social and security challenges via urban migration, crime, labor market inequalities, and the feminization of poverty. The brief also outlines how climate change can impact political instability and food insecurity in Barbados, placing additional stress on governmental support structures.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment and National Beautification (MENB):