While many are enjoying the Christmas festivities, residents
of Aripero and Oropouche have put aside their celebrations
and have started doing research on what they fear will be
the impending destruction of the Oropouche wetlands.
The residents were catapulted into action on Christmas Eve
when Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced the abandonment
of plans to build an aluminium smelter at Chatham, stating
that the plant will be relocated to an industrial estate which
Government plans to create using reclaimed land on the Otaheite
Manning announced that the establishment of the offshore estate
will be accelerated, to facilitate aluminium production.
But environmental conservator John Keens Dumas said the construction
of the offshore estate will affect ocean currents, nesting
grounds and the fishing industry in the Gulf of Paria.
Dumas, who is a member of the group Neighbours Incorporated,
said they have started doing research into the effects of
the proposed off-shore industry.
believe that this industry, if it is built off the Otaheite
Bank, will have implications for the Oropouche Bank, the Oropouche
wetlands and the Rousillac swamp, located further west of
Otaheite, Dumas said.
He said the swamp is a spawning ground for marine life. Dumas
explained that the Oropouche swamp, located at Mosquito Creek,
is also a wetland and there was a possibility that with industrial
activity the natural habitat of the protected Scarlet Ibis
will be affected.
other wetland is the Rousillac swamp and the Aripero Village
is bounded by the Rousillac swamp, so undoubtedly there will
be repercussions if that plant is built, Dumas said.
He added: The entire hydro-dynamics of circulation in
the Gulf, as well as the ocean currents, will be affected.
We have to be careful in how we affect the circulation of
the sea. This is where we have the entire food chain and,
once we affect that, there will be a domino effect once you
start messing with the natural forces, Dumas said.
He said that the fishing industry in Otaheite will also be
are still doing our research to determine whether this offshore
estate will destroy the fishing industry in the South.
Meanwhile, another activistJudy Mc Leansaid residents
are planning to meet on Old Years Day to discuss their
concerns. We are prepared to stage protests and do whatever
it takes to protect our coast, Mc Lean said.
She added that she has already started doing legal research
to stop the construction.
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