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