Trinidad govt says majority of oil spill cleaned

2014-01-18 19:58
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Port-of-Spain - Trinidad's government says a state-owned petroleum company cleaned up about 4 200 barrels of oil from a recent spill in the island's southwest region, but that a mangrove section remains contaminated.

A total of 7 500 barrels of oil were spilled last month along nearly 18km of beach, the majority of which has been cleaned, according to Allan Bachan, chairperson of the island's Environmental Management Authority.

He said on Friday that Petrotrin officials indicated the remaining oil has either evaporated or was dispersed by the ocean.

He announced that those living along Coffee Beach are allowed to once again light fires at their homes for cooking, noting that the air quality is no longer hazardous or flammable.

The government has fined Petrotrin $3m for violating what it said are several environmental and reporting standards.

Petrotrin said it has suspended several workers on full pay while it investigates the cause of at least 10 spills over the span of a week.

The company also has temporarily relocated and provided food for residents affected by the spill. People have complained of various health problems, including breathing difficulties and skin allergies.

Fishermen also complained that the spilled oil damaged their fish nets and boats and killed fish in the area.

Bachan said he has requested help from the US Environmental Protection Agency to finalise the cleanup and rehabilitate affected areas.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the government intends to create an independent task force to investigate the cause of the spill.

Read more on:    trinidad  |  conservation

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