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Saturday 20 January 2018
News

Don’t dump dredge soil into the Gulf

THE EDITOR: The National Petroleum Company (NP) has been granted approval (CEC 4508/2015) by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to dredge and “desilt” the Sea Lots Channel and turning basin for a distance of four kilometres and for 200 metres wide.

It is stated in the application that the solid waste to be generated includes approximately 400,000 square metres of dredge soil (approximately equivalent to 14 million cubic feet) which is to be disposed of in the Gulf of Paria, just south of Gasparee Island.

Conveniently, the EMA did not require an environmental impact assessment, nor was there any consultation opportunity for the primary stakeholders of our sea to air concerns or were they afforded any explanation whatsoever.

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has studied all that is contained in the EMA National Register files and are concerned that:

1. The National Register (which is the public record of each CEC application) appears to have deliberately omitted the copy of the CEC approval to which works have already begun. This omission is illegal.

2. The 400,000 square metres of dredge material sludge is contaminated with decades of hydrocarbon spillage and toxic waste, as well as highly carcinogenic toxic discharges, oozed for decades from the improperly cited and poorly managed Labasse mangrove dump.

3. The toxic Labasse cocktail is embedded in the sludge and yet it has not been tested for toxicity levels by the EMA before granting the approval. Before the approval would have been granted or before the material can be dumped into the centre of our national food basket it should have been and must be tested.

It is of concern to every right thinking citizen that the cumulative levels of highly toxic petrochemical substances, compounded over decades and mixed into a compacted cocktail with the combination of discharges of dangerous oozes from the Labasse should not be dredged and then dumped into the centre of our food basket without observance of the precautionary principle. Sea Lots is a dead fishery zone.

FFOS respectfully and immediately asks the EMA for a copy of the CEC and particularly the conditions of the CEC. We urge extreme caution, and publicly ask for this operation to immediately cease until independent experts can test the contaminated dredge soil to determine the levels of toxicity and the impact on the fishery food chain of which we (humans) are at the top.

We urge the Government to observe the precautionary principle.

Gary Aboud

Terrence Beddoe

FFOS

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