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EMA must move quickly on violations

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In plain sight, quarrying has been taking place at the base of the San Fernando Hill, a protected area and heritage site. And this new affront to the environment and citizens of San Fernando and all of T&T follows the criminal degradation of the once magnificent hill, scarred back in the 1980s beyond the possibility of rehabilitation when money was flowing and construction material was like gold.    


As the story developed over the recent weeks, a contractor is said to have excavated some 200 feet into the ground at the base of the Hill. For the record, it was said to have been work being done at an ordinary construction site. To compound the situation, the contractor stored the mounds of gravel just a few miles away in Marabella. And while all of this was happening, the big question remained: where was and is the Environmental Management Authority to carry out its function of protecting the environment?


Is this not the kind of degradation of the environment that is the responsibility of the EMA to prevent; at minimum, to put an early end to after it has started? To illustrate the ineffective response of the EMA in such matters, the excavation at the base of the San Fernando Hill comes against the background of a couple years ago when a large chunk of a mountain near the Asa Wright Centre in the Arima/Blanchisseuse area was carved out and carted away before the EMA could respond in any meaningful manner.


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