JIS News

Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has said that the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has discovered some 43 entities identified as potential polluters along the rim of the Kingston Harbour.
Mr. Vaz told the House of Representatives during the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate, on July 27, that 13 of those entities have been served warning notices, as well as three enforcement notices as a result of the assessment done.
He said 32 of the companies have been asked to apply for environmental permits/licences and 20 are required to upgrade or install secondary containment for hazardous material stored in tanks. The polluters were identified under NEPA’s Environmental Management programme.
“In terms of general enforcement, NEPA has increased its enforcement capability. A total of 252 enforcement actions were recorded for the year under review,” he also noted.
The Minister said, for years, environmentalists and concerned citizens have agonised over the pollution in the Kingston Harbour, with numerous studies carried out with the hope of solving the problem.
“In the next phase of the programme, entities in St. Catherine will be assessed for their impact on the harbour,” he informed.
In the meantime, Mr. Vaz said an early warning and response programme to effectively monitor and manage natural resources within the Black River basin has been established.
He said the public education and awareness programme has targeted 10 communities with a view to foster environmental stewardship among residents. “The aim is to help to ensure sustainable use of the natural resources; build and strengthen water quality monitoring as well as build an emergency and response network. We are developing a cadre of individuals designated as ‘first responders’ or ‘river guardians’ who can collect water samples when incidents of pollution occur,” he added.
He said these tasks will be carried out by the residents even prior to the arrival of officials from NEPA or other agencies.

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