A recent site check to Bonefish Pond National Park on the south central coast of New Providence revealed that a local contractor has continued to persist in illegal dumping and filling of this critical marine swamp. Mr. Eric Carey, Director of Parks for the BNT discovered the illegal action in February of this year and had the Department of Physical Planning issue a “Cease and Desist” order to the contractor which has apparently been ignored.
According to Mr. Michael Major, Director of Physical Planning, the contractor is in contravention of The Conservation of Physical Landscape Act and the Environmental Health Services Act.
Officers of The Bahamas National Trust held a press conference on Friday, 24 June, to bring the illegal action to the attention of the public and government agencies responsible for administering and enforcing the above mentioned Acts.
Bonefish Pond was one of 10 new National Parks which were added to the existing National Park System in 2002. It is an important marine nursery area for the island, providing a protective nutrient rich habitat for juvenile stocks of fish, crawfish and conch. The area also supports a wide variety of waterfowl and protects unique flora on the interior islands including several species of native orchids. The swamp itself provides critical protection from storm surges to residents along New Providence’s southern shore.
Bonefish Pond is important due to the relatively undeveloped nature of the tidal creek area, its accessibility to students and nature lovers and the fact that is the last “natural “tidal creek on New Providence.
The Trust hopes that agencies responsible for the enforcement of The Environmental Health Service Act and The Conservation of the Physical Landscape Act will assist the organization in halting the indiscriminate dumping at Bonefish Pond, but that the awareness will assist residents with similar problems to come forward and assist government in identifying violators of the laws and help stop the illegal practice of filling-in and destroying wetlands all over New Providence.