Pollution in Trinidad and Tobago

Topics: Petroleum, Waste, Methane Pages: 7 (719 words) Published: April 23, 2015




The Petrotrin oil spill was a series of oil spills that transpired on the island of Trinidad and Tobago. There were a total of eleven oil spills that took place in December 2013. The first spill began when the 16-inch sea line No 10, operated by the Trinidad's national oil company, Petrotrin, ruptured at the bottom of the Gulf of Paria near the company's Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. It was originally reported as a single oil spill near the southwestern town of La Brea but by the end of the month, ten more oil spills were confirmed. It is the largest oil spill in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. The sea off the coast of Point-a-Pierre, where the oil occurred, includes a mangrove forest, home to a wide variety of species found nowhere else. There has been a decrease crab and snail as well as mosquitoes that have been in abundance. There are somewhere between 400 to 500 different species of marine fish as well as 21 different types of freshwater fish. There are also many mammals, reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the bodies of water that surround Trinidad that have been affected.

The Petrotrin oil spill has had an adverse effect on this diverse ecosystem. The spill has put the country’s marine and freshwater animals that inhabit the bodies of water near the Pointe-a-Pierre base, such as Queen’s beach, Coffee beach and the Caribbean Ocean, in harm’s way. Several fishermen have reported seeing many oil-soaked birds as seen in the picture below, as well as many dead fish near beaches close to the oil spill.


The quality of air in Trinidad has suffered as a result. Directly following the oil spill, residents of nearby areas reported smelling a very potent odor. It was eventually discovered that the residents smelled toxic fumes that were being produced from the oil spill. There is an ample fishing community in Trinidad due the country’s convenient location between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The fishermen in those areas have been suffering and struggling to support themselves and their families since the spill. Many had problems with their boats running in the oil soaked water but those who did get there boats to go the distance could only catch a few fish. Therefore the fishing industry did decrease due to the lack of fish and also the fact that persons were too afraid to buy fish because they feared they would become ill.

Beetham Landfill

Beetham Landfill

A landfill is a place to dispose of refuse and other waste material by burying it and covering it over with soil, especially as a method of filling in or extending usable land. This though can casue many problem due to the amount of pollution. An example of this is the Beetham dump in Trinidad. Beetham dump contain toxic pollutants that directly cause asthma, and other serious respiratory ailments. Well-proven studies link living near landfills with cancer, where escaping gases will typically contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals including volatile organic compounds. The Beetham was started in a mangrove swamp with shallow ground water which is not an appropriate place to place a landfill. The Beetham is more than a landfill; it’s a hazardous waste site because industrial waste over the decades have been dumped unchecked, together with old batteries, tyres, plastics, coated metals, used oil and increasingly, electronic waste.   It has become a problem as of late due to the burning of the items in the landfill emitting different gases. Landfill gas (LFG) consists primarily of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide,methane and the rest a combination of hazardous air pollutants mainly: ethane, carbon monoxide, toluene, propanol, xylene, hexane, and hydrogen sulfide. LFG is compounded by fires that burn plastics, coated paper, textiles, treated...
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