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The Gulf in environmental distress

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is T&T running an offshore dumping facility for derelict vessels? If that is the case, then the Government and other institutions responsible for the marine environment should tell the country so. They should give the details and most importantly the rationale for allowing the environmental degradation to take place in the Gulf of Paria, and the unimaginable eyesore that results from the vessels rotting in the water.  


It is disgraceful that vessels can be abandoned in the Gulf and simply allowed to rust away, while they leak unknown quantities and kinds of pollutants into the waters. Once the vessels sink they present a threat to marine life and to the livelihood of the artisan fishermen and their families. It has been reported that there are no fewer than 60 ships settled under the surface of the water.


But not only does T&T have a commonsense responsibility to protect the Gulf of Paria from being a convenient marine dump, there is also the treaty law that T&T signed on to back in 2002. Under the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, this country agreed “to promote the efficient management, conservation and development of shared, straddling and highly-migratory marine and other aquatic resources of the Caribbean Region.”


Calls to the Environmental Management Authority elicited suggestions that this newspaper should consult other authorities on the issue. Surely, even if the EMA does not have the physical resources and/or the legal authority to deal with these marine hazards, it must have the clout, responsibility and above all, the desire to galvanise the responsible agencies into taking action to clear the area and prevent further dumping.


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