The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has noted in its preliminary report that
investigations into the alleged waste oil being dumped into the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of the Kingston Seawall by Marriot Hotel workers two weeks ago have proven that the substance was black ‘set retardant’.
In a release the EPA said that it has also ordered the Chinese company to immediately desist from dumping, and to clean-up the area (at their own cost), while further investigations are being conducted to verify the nature of the substance and whether it had or may have any impacts on the environment, and to determine any further course of action.
A release from the agency stated that the substance which was being dumped illegally by Marriott Hotel workers was being used to delay the hardening of concrete mixture.
In the statement sent by the agency earlier this week, it was noted that “following reports in the media of Marriott workers dumping drums of waste oil at the seawall, the EPA immediately launched an investigation.”
The preliminary results of the investigation, they said, revealed that the substance being disposed of was not waste oil, but black ‘set retardant’ used to delay hardening and ensure workability of concrete mixture in construction. They said that “There was no evidence of any of the disposed substance along the shoreline or a plume in the sea. However, there was evidence of inappropriately disposed garbage and some of the substance spilt in the compound.”
The EPA said it has also written to the Director, Atlantic Hotel Inc. (AHI) informing of the report of alleged dumping of waste oil, the investigations, preliminary findings, and reminding the company of its environmental management obligations under the its current Environmental Authorization. The environmental agency says that AHI is fully cooperating with the Agency while the investigation is on-going.
However, local environmental group, Environmental Community Health Organization (ECHO) has expressed concern given the length of time taken to update the public on the potential environmental hazard. The company which has international ties is currently in discussions with lawyers to ascertain what legal steps could be taken to hold those involved in the illegal dumping responsible.
Head of ECHO, Royston King told this publication yesterday that “After more than two weeks there has been no public report on the matter.” He told the newspaper that the agency is obligated to inform the public about such environmental matters and to provide the necessary information to be used against those culpable.
Atlantic Hotel Inc. (AHI), the Government-controlled company that manages the Marriott-branded hotel project, said in a release that the oil dumping incident was done by labourers acting without the authorisation of the contractor. AHI’s statement last Wednesday evening said that it conducted an immediate and preliminary inquiry following the report which appeared in this newspaper’s Tuesday 21st October article captioned, “Marriott’s Chinese workers caught dumping drums of waste oil at seawall.”
According to AHI, Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) reported that labourers employed by SCG, without authorization of SCG’s management, disposed of the contents of three barrels of cement retardant material, which were in storage pending removal from the site as expired material.
The company said that it had since instituted measures through its site administration to prevent the repetition of the incident.
The Alliance for Change (AFC) has, however, called for “appropriate sanctions” to be made against Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) for the dumping of the substance. The Party Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan was adamant that legal measures need to be taken against the company for the potentially hazardous waste dumped into the Atlantic Ocean.
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