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Oil spill an assault on the whole country

 As we all go about our daily Christmas hustle and bustle we should consider the reason for the season—giving. With that in mind we should remind ourselves that we need to give thanks for our beautiful environment that we are blessed to have. 

Disconcerting is the only word I can find to describe the nonchalance expressed in connection with the Petrotrin oil spill. On a daily basis only the few people who take the environment seriously and encourage others to try to see the importance of respecting and preserving the environment are very disturbed. 

I am not sure the Government and most citizens understand the detrimental impact an oil spill has on many socio-economic aspects of the nation.

We need to think about our food; all seafood needs to be stringently monitored. We need to ensure there are means of being certain that contaminated seafood does not end up on our dinner plates. 

Which brings me to the fishermen who are sure to suffer greatly from such an environmental impact as their livelihood is now threatened and through no fault of their own. What are we going to do to ensure that these individuals are able to feed their families and make a living when something like this happens? 

As many families and young people prepare for their trips to Tobago to bring in the New Year we should be concerned that these individuals may be exposing themselves to levels of toxins that are able to travel to beaches in the Caribbean at alarming rates. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the impact these toxins would have if they are ingested or if sea bathers come into contact with them.

Wildlife has already been affected as pictures surface of oil oozing onto beaches and mangroves and birds cloaked in oil flood the pages of Facebook. 

We need to think of the impact this not only has on ourselves but for our voiceless inhabitants that are suffering as a result of this. What about them? What about tourism and the impact an oil spill has on the mindset of a tourist? 

Last but not least, I would like to address what is being done in our country to battle these situations. Is the Government going to address the rumoured possibility of oil lines that have been abandoned and not closed off properly, of oil rigs as well as oil wells that have not been maintained? 

What about the alleged incidents of individuals attempting to get pictures of the damage of this oil spill who were chased away? 

I will say that for more than a year I have been trying futilely to get information from all of the natural gas companies in Trinidad and Tobago, information on where I could take a HAZMAT (hazardous materials) course and where I could go to apply to help when the inevitable oil spill occurs, and to this date I have not received any information. What is being done to ensure that the citizens who want to help are getting the information they need? 

Ijanaya Jacob

via e-mail

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