|New marine ordinance puts priority on curbing pollution|
|Friday, 21 May 2010 10:27|
Beginning June 1, a new law on marine pollution and sanctions for violators will take effect.
The Marine Pollution Ordinance 2010, which was recently signed by His Excellency the Gov. Gordon Wetherell after much input from the Advisory Council and Consultative Forum, will be under the strict surveillance of the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) through its Marine Patrol Officers and Scientific Team.
The ordinance is aimed at protecting the marine environment by minimizing intentional and negligent discharges of pollutants into the marine environment.
DECR Director Wesley Clerveaux has explained the ordinance to the media, tour company operators, fishermen, businessmen, environmentalists and school teachers. It applies to all ships in any part of the marine environment of the islands, including individuals dumping garbage and other refuse to the marine areas.
The 34-page ordinance details laws covering enforcement and prevention of pollution by oil, noxious liquid substance in bulk, packaged harmful substances, sewage, garbage and other discharges.
Oil pollution has been alarming news in recent months following the oil spill along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia from a Chinese tanker and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which threatens the southern coastlines of the United States.
Oil pollution can cause severe ecological damage from physical and toxic effects on organisms. Those damages can be made much worse by some of the cleanup methods because of the highly toxic detergents and dispersants that will be deployed.
As is the case with many oil spills, seabirds are known to be among the most tragic victims, causing a substantial decrease in birds’ breeding populations. In addition, the coral reefs, which place a high value for the marine resources especially in TCI, are most likely to be affected if such incident happens.
The DECR team promises to spare no one in enforcing the law that has fines ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 and imprisonment of one year to five years depending on the offenses committed.
“If the court finds the defendant has discharged a pollutant into the marine environment in contravention of this ordinance, the court may order defendant to do either or both of the following: (a) pay to the islands the amount the islands could have recovered; (b) take stated action to rehabilitate or restore the marine environment damaged because of the contravention,” the ordinance states in part.
Anyone needing a copy or explanation of the contents of the ordinance can visit the DECR Provo Office in the Lower Bight across from the Children’s Park, or DECR offices in the other islands.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 04 July 2010 09:58|
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