ESG cautious on Junta’s Campo emissions action
The Environmental Safety Group has claimed that reports regarding the Junta appearing to take action on Campo emission levels carry a mixed message.
The reports tacitly acknowledge that pollution levels, as directed by the World Health Organisation, are higher than advisable in the Campo area - this despite claiming levels are legal and that mortality rates are getting lower, the group said in a statement yesterday.
The latter was in response earlier this month to a protest held by citizens after the recent heavy flaring by CEPSA Oil Refinery.
This announcement also follows formal separate complaints lodged by the Gibraltar Government and the ESG with Brussels on the excessive pollution produced by the Refinery in the flaring episode in late January.
“A reference to excessive nickel levels being tacked is well overdue when these were previously flagged to the EU by NGOs on both sides of the border in 2011,” the group said.
“The Junta acknowledges that petrochemical and metal industries will be largely responsible for this though it is trying to diffuse some responsibility by claiming that shipping is partly responsible.”
“Perhaps the reason the Junta is making such statements today is because it is finally receiving some badly needed attention from the EU wondering why it is allowing such poor regulation of industries on its watch?”
If so, the ESG said pressure must be maintained to ensure the badly needed clean up of the Campo industrial base continues.
Another claim by the Junta this week is that the petrochemical industry will need to have its licence changed to limit its emissions, the ESG added.
“This is a very positive development but success will depend on there being independent and verifiable monitoring data.”
“Such monitoring data supplied to the EU by La Junta proving compliance in the past has always been less than satisfactory to the ESG and other NGOs due to the fact that these originate from monitors predominantly sited and managed within industries themselves.”
“In a comprehensive audit on the Refinery authors confirmed this concern and urged for greater independence and transparency with regards to monitoring data.”
Without this other measures will be meaningless, the group said.
“Let’s hope the Junta tackles this critical oversight also in this publicly expressed drive to rein in dirty industry.”
“The ESG has been assured by the Clean Air Unit in Brussels to be looking carefully into the situation behind the heavy flaring by CEPSA in January this year and hopes that in so doing, is bringing about its own pressure for positive changes to clean up these giant and heavily polluting industries that have so degraded the Bays environment and lives of so many of its citizens for decades.”