By a majority vote, the Barbuda Council has set a deadline of May 31 for sand mining operations to cease at Palmetto Point. Environmentalists, including John Mussington, have long been pointing out the damage caused to the environment by 23 years of sand mining in the area. The decision has ramifications for Antigua and Barbuda’s construction industry, which will have to import sand at a higher cost, and for the economy of Barbuda itself, where over EC$5 million annually is reported to be earned from the mining of sand. On Tuesday 23 May 2006 the members of the Barbuda Council attended a meeting with Central Government, when financial assistance was promised for the island.
This photo were taken in October 2005 by marine biologist, John Mussington. The photo at top shows the digging below the water table, which has exposed the fresh water in the water table itself to contamination by sand and salt water. This was the view from the top of one of the last remaining ridges pictured in the photo. This ridge was removed recently.