Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 23rd 2014 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Members of the public who have suffered for years
owing to loud music and other noises will soon be
able to get relief as the Environmental Management
Authority (EMA) intends to amend the Noise Pol-
lution Control Rules (NPCR).
The promise came from EMA chairman Michael
Rooplal as he responded to the request of a
Williamsville woman to shutdown a woodwork shop
near her home.
Rooplal said despite the conditions listed in Ousha
Ramnarine s complaint, the authority could not inter-
vene under the current law.
"Under the current legislation, once the activity pre-
dates the proclamations of the act, the EMA has no
jurisdiction," Rooplal explained.
"The only way we can intervene is if any expansion was
done after the act was proclaimed (2001)."
But he said that might soon change if the EMA had its way.
"When our joint select committee met last month, we
started the process of revising the act. We intend to put
forward recommendations to amend the act," Rooplal said.
He said one change that had already been decided on was
the amendment to the NPCR.
"Currently, the NPCR states that a complaint for noise
must be recorded continuously for 30 minutes. But most
times that continuous recording is not possible. The amend-
ment will allow for where the noise cannot be measured
Rooplal also promised Ramnarine s file would be reviewed.
"I do not know the issue offhand. However, I will have one
of the relevant personnel review her file to see if there is
anything we can do."
EMA to amend noise pollution laws
An asthmatic Williamsville mother is
questioning the decision of the Environmental
Health Authority (EMA) to close its
investigation into the effects of the operations
of a woodwork shop next to her home.
Ousha Ramnarine, who lives at Harris
Promenade, Ben Lomond, Williamsville, said
even though her case against the operation of
the shop was closed, her health problems,
triggered by sawdust and lacquer fumes,
Ramnarine visited the T&T Guardian's South
office after taking her ten-year-old daughter,
Priya, who also suffers from asthma, to the San
Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) for
treatment. She said the child had to miss school
because the dust "raises" her asthma.
"I don't know where else to turn. The dust, the
noise and the fumes from the lacquer are killing
us," Ramnarine said.
Ramnarine said she has made numerous
reports to the EMA, Ministry of Health, Fire
Service and the police about the operations at
the shop. But on November 6, 2013, Ramnarine
got a letter from the EMA saying the case was
closed because "the activity in question predates
the Environmental Clearance Rules, 2001."
Ramnarine said since then she had been going
back and forth between the EMA and the Health
"When I go to health, they send me to EMA and at
EMA they send me to health," she said.
"I am beyond frustrated now, I need someone to help
my family please."
Ramnarine said there were other neighbours affected
but none as badly as her family. She said the
woodworking shop was established about ten years ago
and is run from her neighbour's home from around 7 am
until 6 pm daily.
"The two buildings are really close together so we
bear the full brunt of everything," she said.
"This is a residential area, not an industrial one. He
needs to take his business elsewhere."
She said she tried approaching the neighbour to
resolve the issue but was met with hostility. She also
complained of nightly fires.
The T&T Guardian visited the woodwork shop but the
owner was not there at the time.
Asthma patient cries for help
Asthma patient Ousha Ramnarine. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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