Fire not the remedy: Cow itch needs a deeper, holistic solution Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Burning the fields and pastures where cow itch grows is but a band-aid fix for the aggravating issue.

Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard told Loop News today, February 21, 2023, that setting the pastures alit will not solve the cow itch challenge permanently as should be the goal ultimately.

With another school plant, this time in St John, closing its doors and ending face-to-face class because cow itch was affecting students and staff today, the Fire Chief stressed, “This is not only an issue now.

“The problem with the cow itch issue is burning the cow itch is not necessarily going to solve the issue once and for all.”

He said that there was a more lasting solution in place “a couple of years ago” to treat the area in the vicinity of Blackman and Gollop Primary in Christ Church. The school closed its compound on February 20, 2023, due to cow itch once again.

During that project, Chief Maynard explained, “it was advisable to get the cow itch bulldozed or pushed away or basically uproot and bury them or you can carry them away to the landfill.

“Burning it, all you will do is burn the dry leaves and pods on the surface of the land but the problem will remain.”

Instead, he proposed a more holistic approach to treating to the cow itch.

“I believe strongly the issue with the cow itch has to be tackled in a national way in which homeowners, landowners have to clean up their place.

“Cow itch as a plant, if it is the plant that is the pest, then that is something for the Ministry of Agriculture.

“If it is an environmental thing – which the itching affecting different people, then that is something [the Ministry of] Health has to look into, in the environment.

“But the getting rid of cow itch is not a mandate of the Barbados Fire Service. We assist the Ministry of Health when they have issues in burning sometimes, when they make the requests. But the management of cow itch is not the mandate of the Barbados Fire Service.”

This week, according to the Deputy Chief of Education of Schools Joy Adamson, only three public schools – two primary and one nursery – have closed physically, due to cow itch “so far”. These schools have transitioned to online schooling since their plants closed. The schools are Blackman and Gollop Primary, Thelma Berry Nursery and Mount Tabor Primary.

All students in public school will go on break for mid-term on Thursday, February 23, 2023, and are scheduled to return to the classroom on Monday, February 27, 2023.