EMA: 377 oil spills in four years

Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 10:30

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­i­ty (EMA) has record­ed over 700 en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­ci­dents with­in the past three years.

The rev­e­la­tion came from EMA’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Hay­den Ro­mano dur­ing a meet­ing be­tween the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee and the EMA yes­ter­day.

Be­tween 2015 and 2018 Ro­mano ex­plained, 377 were oil spills. Though in­ves­ti­ga­tions are still on­go­ing, the EMA says col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Mar­itime Ser­vices Di­vi­sion of the Min­istry of Works as well as the Coast Guard has re­sult­ed in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the cul­prit in the most re­cent in­ci­dent. He said ac­tion would be tak­en.

“It looks like for the first time, based on the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, some­thing will come out. We sus­pect on­ly be­cause the ves­sel was still in port.”

Mean­while, the EMA said that waste con­tin­ues to be its ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenge, es­pe­cial­ly plas­tic.

“We hope that the Par­lia­ment will take the lead in terms of not hav­ing plas­tic bot­tles be­cause this is a ma­jor is­sue that we’re all faced with on a day to day ba­sis. So I think waste on the whole came out as the num­ber one is­sue.”

Ro­mano added that the $10,000 fine for en­vi­ron­men­tal breach­es was woe­ful­ly in­ad­e­quate and ad­vo­cat­ed for these breach­es to be crim­i­nalised.

“We need to do the amend­ments to the E.M. (En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment) Act in terms of en­force­ment so that we give our­selves more pow­er and have maybe crim­i­nal of­fences in the act.”

Reporter: Rishard Khan