Mon | Sep 16, 2019

Jamaica coast could be at risk

Published:Wednesday | June 16, 2010 | 5:58 PM

Jamaica’s coastal waters and marine life could be at risk of severe oil pollution from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during the present hurricane season.

Peter Knight, the head of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) told the Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) today that while the chances of the pollution remained low, the likelihood of this happening could not be ruled out.

He was responding to questions about NEPA’s preparations to handle the oil spill in the event of seepage into Caribbean waters.

The oil spill has already affected coastal waters in the US gulf states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

“There is a national oil spill plan spearheaded by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and NEPA is a supporting agency,” said Peter Knight.

However, Knight admitted that NEPA lacks the necessary technical expertise.

However, he says the agency has been working with the University of the West Indies (UWI).

In Cuba, officials have been busily making preparations to protect the coast as the BP oil spill continues to make its way through the Gulf of Mexico.

Spill-fighting experts from the communist state’s oil-rich ally, Venezuela, have already been dispatched to the island to provide assistance.

Some forecasts predict gulf currents will carry the oil to Cuba, which is 145 km south of Key West, Florida.