TT: The biggest marine polluter in the region

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By AZP Staff

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO is the biggest marine polluter in this region, a World Bank study has revealed.

The study was a collaborative effort by The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the United Nations (UN) Environment, and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

The 104-page report called Marine Pollution in the Caribbean: Not a Minute to Waste was authored by Sylvia Michele Diez, Pawan Patil, John Morton, Diego J. Rodriguez, Alessandra Vanzella, David Robin, Thomas Maes, and Christopher Corbin.

“Industrial activities in the wider Caribbean region (WCR) such as oil refining, food processing, chemical manufacturing, and mining are potential threats both to marine resources and human health. 90% of hydrocarbon pollution in the region’s marine environment originates from land-based industrial sources and activities, including oil refineries, which number over 100, with 75 percent of them located along the Gulf of Mexico,” the reported stated.

It stated: “While many Caribbean countries have no major industries, industrial hotspots around the Gulf of Mexico discharging substantial pollutant loads into the marine environment find their way to the waters of other countries. The smallest industrial pollutant loads come from the western Caribbean (the Central American countries), while in the eastern Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago contributes the largest industrial pollutant loads to the marine environment, due to the increased industrial development, notably oil facilities,”

According to the report, “In Trinidad and Tobago, which hosts one of the largest treatment plants in the insular Caribbean, only about 30% of domestic sewage goes to treatment plants, while the rest is directly or indirectly discharged into surface waters. Approximately 50% of households use septic tanks and soak-away systems to dispose of their domestic sewage, while 27% have pit latrines, and only 22% enjoy disposal to a sewer system.”

The report noted: “The WCR has 51 tanker terminals. A significant amount of the produced oil goes by ship to the United States through an intricate network of routes. As such, the region faces a serious threat of oil spills in accidents and technological failures as crude oil is produced and tankers move it.”