Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2014 Contents RESHMA RAGOONATH
Petrotrin is facing another hefty fine from
the Environmental Management Authority,
even as it continues mopping up operations
in the Guaracara River, Marabella.
This after oil from the Pointe-a-Pierre
refinery made its way into the water course
over the weekend.
In a telephone interview yesterday, EMA
chairman Dr Allan Bachan hinted at possible
action against the state-run oil company for
its latest spill.
He said the EMA is "very concerned by
the information that Petrotrin has been giving
and has given us, especially in light of that
Just under one year ago, the EMA fined
Petrotrin $20 million for environmental vio-
lations following an oil spill in La Brea which
impacted 12 communities along the south-
western peninsula. In July, slop oil from the
refinery also escaped into the Guaracara River
and created havoc for Marabella residents.
Now, some six months later, residents are
once again living with the discomfort of
another oil spill.
Petrotrin is yet to release how much barrels
of oil was spilled, but Bachan said the com-
pany reported that some 15 barrels had spilled
into the river.
Bachan said in December, the EMA had
to issue a notice of violation against Petrotrin
for failing to get information in a timely man-
ner for the authority to conduct its inves-
Referring to the current Marabella spill,
Bachan said, "My understanding is that the
incident has been cleaned up and we are
continuing to investigate the matter to ascer-
tain and make a determination on how we
will proceed with this latest incident."
On Sunday night, oil from the refinery
began seeping into the Guaracara River.
Marabella residents complained that since
Saturday they had been smelling a high sul-
phur scent in their area and noticed the oil
in the river on Monday morning.
Petrotrin, in its media releases since the
spill, said the Marabella spill was a small leak
and assured that the oil had been contained.
Yesterday, Bachan said the EMA is currently
investigating the spill but declined to make
a pronouncement on what action the author-
ity will take coming out of this investigation.
"We will take the necessary action which
is allowed for us under the law in terms of
this incident and any incident. I cannot say
what the action will be because we are still
awaiting information from Petrotrin," he said.
Bachan said what is worrying to the
authority is the frequency of the oil spills.
"We are very concerned about the envi-
ronmental impact on that area. As I have
said in numerous occasions before I am very
concerned by the incidents of pollution in
that river and we need to address the matter."
The EMA boss contented that Petrotrin
needs to find some solution to the problems
it is facing.
"I cannot speak to their engineering and
maintenance issues, but at the end of the
day they need to address all the issues regard-
ing the environmental issues that arise out
of incidents such as that," he said.
Petrotrin, he added, should know "they
need to get their act together. They need to
find ways to mitigate the risk against these
potential incidents from happening in the
He also stressed the need for robust leg-
islation to deal with such incidents.
"We are very industrial, we are moving
towards a highly industrialised country and
the generation of waste is very high in the
country. We have to protect our country and
our environment in a manner that allows for
the benefit of the future generations. We
have to get in place these pieces of important
legislation like the Hazardous Waste Rules
and the Waste Rules," Bachan said.
He also said he hoped the legislation will
be passed quickly.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Today, many people will make merry for Christ-
mas. But for Marabella crab catcher Nandlal Behar-
ry and his family there will be no Yuletide joy
because of the oil spill in the Guaracara River.
Yesterday, Beharry, 66, of Bayshore, Marabella,
said since the oil spill on Sunday he has not been
able to earn a living because the crabs in the mangrove
near the river have been covered with oil.
The man, who pointed to three of the 15 crab
traps he was able to salvage from the mangrove near
the river, said for a third day straight he returned
home empty-handed yesterday.
"I went yesterday (Tuesday evening) to collect
my traps and the traps had real oil in it. It had crab
with oil in it too," Beharry said.
He told the T&T Guardian that he had to throw
away most of his crab traps and the few he salvaged
he had to clean with kerosene.
"This Christmas is a bad Christmas. I had crabs
with oil. I could not bring that home, how could
I carry that in the market to sell? I had to throw
it back in the river," the upset man said.
He claimed Petrotrin had neither visited the com-
munity nor met with residents since the latest spill.
Beharry said, "I cannot go and hold anything in
there. I feel Petrotrin should compensate me for my
Beharry s wife Patricia, 62, of Bayshore, said there
would be no merriment for her family.
"We cannot have a Christmas."
She has been experiencing intense headaches
since the oil washed down the river, which borders
Yesterday when the T&T Guardian visited there
were no clean-up crews on duty.
However, Mohammed said early yesterday she
saw a crew of Petrotrin workers in a boat clearing
debris from the river and siphoning the oil from the
water s surface.
Petrotrin slow with oil spill info
EMA eyes another fine
Containment booms set to control the spread of oil in the Guaracara River, Pointe-a-Pierre,
yesterday. PHOTOS: RISHI RAGOONATH
Gillian Friday says
significant progress has
been made in efforts to
clear the Guaracara River.
In an e-mail to the T&T
Guardian yesterday, Friday
said the company is
continuing its clean-up
activities along the river
following "the small leak
from the Pointe-a-Pierre
refinery on December 21."
She assured that the
company's concern is for
"the wellbeing of the
residents in the
and, mindful of any
"We are working
industriously to ensure
that the area is restored in
as short a timeframe as
possible," Friday said.
"Since the discovery of
the leak our employees
have been in the
continuous air quality tests
to monitor for volatile
(VOCs). Tests for VOCs
have returned negative
Yesterday, portions of
the river and its banks
remained coated with oil
and there was a faint scent
of sulphur in the air in
Crab catcher Nandlal Beharry shows the three crab
traps he was able to salvage from the mangrove
following an oil spill in the Guaracara River.
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