Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 4th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 4, 2014
A single bass
band Jah Roots
"The Road Make
to Walk" during
Club car park,
Still reeling from the effects of
last December s oil spill in the
Gulf of Paria, Claxton Bay fish-
ermen have written to Petrotrin
president Khalid Hassanali calling
for an immediate assessment of
the polluted waters.
Vice-president of the Claxton
Bay Fishing Association, Bhadose
Sooknanan, yesterday called on
Petrotrin to visit the Claxton Bay
fishing depot to get a first-hand
view of the oil and sludge that
they said have significantly deplet-
ed the fish stock.
In the letter to Petrotrin s board
of directors, Sooknanan said
although the Corexit 9500 dis-
persant dissolved the heavy crude
floating on the waters, the remain-
ing residue sank to the ocean bed
and has spread throughout the
It added: "The Corexit dissolves
the oil, yes, but the remaining
residue sinks to the bottom of the
sea and with the combination of
the wind, tide and currents, it is
contaminating and damaging our
"When we slacken our nets,
instead of trapping fishes, we get
an oily/slush/mud substance upon
"This prevents us from making
our living because we fear our nets
might be destroyed. At the
moment, we the fishermen are
being affected by this because it
prevents us from earning an
income to support our families."
Sookanan said that between
January 31 and Sunday, one fish-
erman who went out to sea
returned with oil in his nets instead
of fish. He said they have photos
of damaged nets and boats as evi-
dence when a Petrotrin represen-
tative met with them.
He said since the oil spill, not
only were La Brea and Cedros res-
idents affected but fishermen in
the entire gulf.
"Marabella, San Fernando and
Claxton Bay fishermen are also
feeling the pinch, from the fish-
ermen to the vendors to the con-
sumers because fish is not selling.
People don t want to buy fish
because they are saying it is from
the gulf and that it is contami-
nated. The catch rate is already
"It is not feasible to go to sea
when you purchase $400 in fuel...
buy ice and nets... it is not prof-
itable. Ninety per cent of the fish-
ermen in Claxton Bay are not
working because they are afraid
of the oil contaminating their boats
"We are calling on Petrotrin to
put their business in order and see
what best they can do to help fish-
ermen," Sooknanan added.
Fishermen still want
answers from Petrotrin
recycling plant through the Gov-
ernment s $4 billion Green Fund
but no political will to do that,
says Stephen Harris, environ-
mentalist and director of the
recycling organisation, SAVE
In an interview yesterday he
said T&T needed the will to set
up a proper recycling industry.
This follows a week of fires in
the Beetham landfill which led to
schools being closed and busi-
nesses sending employees home
as toxic smoke blew into the city.
Yesterday, the Solid Waste
Management Company Ltd
(SWMCOL) said all the fires at
the dump had been brought under
The fires and resulting tempo-
rary closure of the landfill raised
the issue of whether closing the
landfill permanently was a good
Harris said: "We already have
recycling here. Residents from the
Beetham Gardens community
have been recycling for years.
The problem is that it is not reg-
ulated and it is not a properly
He said if Government was to
invest in recycling plants for dif-
ferent materials, it would not only
create hundreds of jobs but also
establish T&T as a recycling hub
in the Caribbean.
"They would need to set up a
waste-separation system with
manual labour or automated sys-
tems in order to separate waste,
glass, plastics, tin, aluminium,
cardboards and papers," he added.
Once that was done, Harris
said, it would create downstream
industries to do the actual recy-
cling of the materials.
"A processing plant will bale
the plastic and ship off to actual
recyclers or in some cases plastic
can be recycled into nylon thread
which is then used to manufacture
cloth and clothing.
"Recycling creates the oppor-
tunity for industries and employ-
ment," said Harris.
The opportunity would be wel-
comed by residents of the
Beetham Gardens, some of whom
have been engaged in an unreg-
ulated recycling business for years.
In interviews with the T&T
Guardian on Sunday, residents
said they would welcome the
opportunity to work in a recycling
Harris said there were people
who wanted to set up a down-
stream plant but there was no
proper recycling being done.
According to Indian High Com-
missioner Gauri Shankar Gupta,
as recently as the last three
months, Indian businessmen had
come to T&T to discuss proposals
to establish recycling plants.
"I know that two or three busi-
nessmen from India have come
to T&T in the past few months
to deliver proposals for a recycling
plant but I do not know what
came of those discussions," Gupta
There is a large recycling indus-
try in India.
Harris, who recycles regularly,
says T&T was in a strong position
to set up recycling plants.
"Most of the other (Caribbean)
islands consider themselves too
small to set up recycling facilities.
T&T can set itself up as a recy-
He said other countries usually
paid recyclers to take waste, like
car tyres, and those were items
that could be recycled to create
buffers for ports and highways.
Environmentalist on recycling:
No will in T&T
to set up plant
WALKING THE ROAD
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