What Now ?
What are the outcomes of the oil spill at the Point-A-Pierre Refinery?
Were clean up methods effective?
What about the affected animals ?
What are Petrotrin’s mitigation techniques and strategies ?
I simply do not have the answers to these questions. The company has gone silent, and like any other issue in Trinidad it has been forgotten by the general public.
We need to do better!
Petrotrin’s President stated that the company is too reactive and that they need to adopt a proactive safety culture ensuring that they become 100% environmentally compliant.
Sounds good right ?
No ! not really ! It is not enough !
Reports stated that the recent oil spill reached Venezuelan shores and that they were working with Venezuelan authorities to clean up the oil. The MEEI initiated the activation of the T&T /Venezuela Bilateral Oil Spill Plan via diplomatic channels.
What exactly does that mean and entail ?
I simply do not have the details. It has not been made public
But it does not stop there.
On May 29th 2017, there were reports that the oil spilled at Petrotrin’s bunker on April 23rd reached the dutch island of Bonaire. Clumps of the black substance has been washing up on Bonaire’s east coast.
The government of Bonaire began aerial monitoring to determine the location of oil in the sea however, this has been deemed a tricky task as the salt in the sea water has turned most of the oil into tar making it difficult to be determined by air.
Efforts have been made by local volunteers to clean up the oil spill on the beaches.
What is mind-boggling to me is the fact that Petrotrin is silent.
The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NDSCP) was activated for Trinidad which included containment, recovery and clean up activities.
Click this link for more info concerning the contingency plan . http://www.energy.gov.tt/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/62.pdf
Was it successful ?
In 2013, 7000 barrels of oil were spilled and confined to Trinidad waters in contrast to 2017 where 300 barrels of oil were spilled and reached as far as Bonaire shores.
Something is not adding up!
Yes climatic conditions has an effect on the movement of oil in the Gulf of Paria but the volume of oil also plays a major role.
As such it is plausible to say that the volume of oil leaked from the Petrotirn’s Tank 70 has been underestimated and the Fisherman and Friends of the sea estimates that 138,000 barrels of oil were leaked instead of the reported 300.
This makes you question the integrity of the released statement as well as the success of clean up methods. Every time there is an oil spill a cosmetic clean up is conducted and they pretend the problem has been resolved. This has been made evident by the numerous oil spills the country has experienced in the past 5 years and the catastrophic results we are seeing from this current oil spill.
Public safety must never become a private matter. The public deserves to know what is going on with public space, public waters, public beaches and public land.
We need to do better by demanding better. If we let these issues slide we permit these activities. We allow companies to be negligent, we allow them to pollute our waters, we allow them to kill/harm wildlife, we allow them to make us sick and we allow them to waste the resource.
Stern & Dietz (1994) stated that attitudes of environmental concern are rooted in a person’s value system. Is it that we have no value system ?
We must demand better !
Unless Petrotin and all stakeholders which include the general public come together and developing a sense of environmental consciousness the environment will continue to be at risk because of gross negligence, poor legislation, poor regulation and dereliction of duty!