– ECHO mulls legal options
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that investigations
have commenced in relation to the dumping of waste oil into the Atlantic Ocean at Kingston by Chinese workers attached to the Marriot Hotel construction project.
EPA’s Executive Director, Dr. Indarjit Ramdass, through his secretary, told Kaieteur News yesterday that the agency is not allowed to speak with the media, but did indicate that an investigation had commenced into the oil dumping matter and the results will be delivered to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MNRE) which is responsible for the Environmental Protection Agency. This publication was told that EPA officers visited the site yesterday, but were unable to say when the report might be made available.
Staffers of the MNRE told Kaieteur News yesterday that the Ministry cannot comment on the matter until the EPA report is available. Parmanand Persaud, attached to the MNRE, told this newspaper that the ministry is waiting until the investigation is completed.
However, local environmental agency, ECHO, has slammed the actions of the Marriott workers. In a public missive, Executive
Director Royston King said that “the Environmental Community Health Organization (ECHO) is again forced to bring to the attention of the authorities and general public the disturbingly, reckless disregard with which some among us have been treating our natural environment.”
He said that the incident where Chinese workers, attached to Marriott, have been caught dumping waste oil in the Atlantic Ocean is a clear violation of environmental laws that cannot be allowed.
“Such unfriendly and irrational environmental action shows that those, who are involved really have no respect or care for our environment. Waste oil dumped into our waters not only affects our fishes and other resources, but also, the ecology of our environment. That action is polluting the Atlantic Ocean and has far-reaching implications to the integrity of our environment.”
King said it will ultimately affect economics and the livelihood of those who depend on the seas. “We do not know how much waste oil or how long this has been going on. This has got to stop; we cannot continue in this vein; we cannot allow anyone to mess up our environment.”
“This has brought to the fore several important questions, including who is monitoring activities there. What is the source of the waste oil? What does it consist of? What other points are being used by those involved to dump such materials into the Atlantic Ocean and other waterways?” ECHO is calling on the competent authorities, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to take swift action against those Chinese workers, who are destroying our environment.” King said that citizens need to “speak up” for the environment.
In the meantime, ECHO says it is seriously contemplating legal action against those involved in the action as it is now doing its own investigation into the issue.
The Chinese workers were on Monday caught dumping the waste material aback of the Marriot Hotel construction site by two tourists who had gone for a look at the ongoing construction work. The men proceeded to take video footage and photos of the Chinese nationals pouring out what looked like waste oil into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Chinese were at the time dumping the oil right next to the Coast Guard’s quarters which adjoin the Marriott Hotel. Upon noticing the workers in the act, a staffer from the Coast Guard approached the workers and despite their initial refusal, he was able to stop them from emptying the remaining barrels of waste oil.
The visitors had also photographed a bulldozer transporting drums to the waterside, while others stood and lay at the back entrance of the hotel’s construction site.
Contact was made with Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn on Monday and he said that he was unaware of the incident and would be liaising with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD).
While there has been word about the investigation, none of the relevant agencies to address the oil dumping matter have made public statements.
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