Environmental Safety Assessment for GB Industrial Area Residents Conducted

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SECOND REPORT – During a recent press conference, Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. Michael Darville introduced Environmental Consultants from the Netherlands who spent a week in Grand Bahama carrying out investigations on the safety concerns of residents living near Industrial Plants. It was phase two of the recommendation which was made by the Pan American Health Organization, following an Independent report in 2015. On hand for the press conference were (from left): Jacob van der Schaff and Machiel Pronk of the Antea Group; Minister Darville; Harcourt Brown of the Ministry for Grand Bahama and Tammi Mitchell of the National Emergency Management Association. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

FREEPORT, The Bahamas – Representatives of the Antea Group, an international Engineering and Environmental Consulting Firm from the Netherlands, which specializes in full service solutions in the fields of environment, infrastructure and urban planning, spent over a week in Grand Bahama, recently, conducting investigations with respect to environmental safety of residents within the Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Hawksbill and surrounding communities.

The firm was highly recommended to the government by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to perform an independent safety assessment of the communities surrounding the Industrial Parks. Representing the Antea Group were Senior Safety Consultants Jacob Van der Schaaf and Machiel Pronk.
During a press conference to announce the consultants’ objective, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville noted that the project was set to commence in November of last year, but had to be postponed because of Hurricane Matthew.

“Nevertheless, I’m pleased that the Antea Group is on the island of Grand Bahama and has over the course of the week, conducted investigations, met with industrial leaders, residents and representatives from the Pinder’s Point/Lewis Yard Environmental Committee,” said Dr. Darville.

“I am pleased, as Minister for Grand Bahama, that the second recommendation of PAHO and the World Health Organizations report, which was presented to us sometime last year, has clearly indicated that the safety assessment is an essential part in order for us to complete our study in the Hawksbill as well as the Pinder’s Point area.

“I also take this opportunity to thank the residents of Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard and the surrounding areas and to remind them that this independent study will conclude the recommendations under the PAHO and WHO reports.”

Dr. Darville said that this was just the first visit by the consultants from the Antea Group and promised that there would be future visits and investigations; as a result they are hoping to have a report that would outline the safety parameters.

“I’m also pleased to indicate that the recommendation for the monitoring of the environment is already in play and the installation of our e-Nose system is already surrounding the island and the industrial sector,” added Dr. Darville.

“I wish to reassure the residents of the communities surrounding the industrial parks that as an administration of the government, we are committed to ensure that we do all in our power to do the necessary scientific investigations and to determine, without a shadow of a doubt, the safety and well-being of the people in those areas.”

Jacob van der Schaaf, the senior Safety Consultant of the Antea Group said that during their visit on Grand Bahama, they visited a number of companies including Buckeye, Pharmachem, the Power Station, Polymers, GB Ship Yard, Bahama Rock and the Container Port.

They said that they even spoke with residents within the Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Hawksbill and Hunter’s communities to find out their concerns.
“We’ve collected enough information to make the calculations back in Holland to see what are the impact distances and what is relevant and what is not to complete the studies,” said Jacob van der Schaaf.