Monday, January 22, 2018

Aboud: Dangerous oil spill remnants still on the beach

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) secretary Gary Aboud is calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to retract the statement she made four months ago that the oil spill in La Brea was under control.

On Wednesday, Aboud  visited Station Beach, La Brea, where areas were still covered by black oil residue and several dead fish.

He claimed a lot of what covered the coastline was oil mixed with Corexit 9500, a chemical used in the clean-up of the oil spill which occurred last December in the Gulf of Paria, originating from State-owned Petrotrin.

Aboud said the Government continued to ignore several appeals issued since the oil spill which residents, fishermen and the people of Trinidad and Tobago need answered.

“Since January/February, there is a change in tidal movement ... a big influx of sand that came and covered up the Corexit oil that was abandoned on the beach and the shallow area. We are now in June, the waves have changed and are coming and removing the sand and it is being depleted and uncovering the oil and that oil is mixed with Corexit and washing into the sea,” said Aboud.

“We are calling on the EMA (Environmental Management Authority) to do what they have the authority to do and to command and force Petrotrin to dispatch crews to come in and clean it up.”

Aboud said the Prime Minister deployed a special Cabinet committee to investigate the oil spill to come up with remedial action. And six weeks ago, Environment and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh announced the report on the oil spill by the emergency investigative unit was ready, but the public was not made aware of the findings.

“Why did they not report it publicly? What does the report say about the Corexit ... and that our reading has shown it is highly toxic. Why is it being kept secret?” asked Aboud.

He said because of the oil spill there was a decline in fishermen’s catch from 40 to 80 per cent.

And the beaches were unsafe for beach goers as the waters remain toxic. 

Since the spill, several dead dolphin, fish, crabs and birds have washed ashore. 

Aboud dismissed claims that only one species of fish was washing up dead, adding that along the beach on Wednesday  dead catfish and moonshine were found.