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Event To Unite Residents Of Homes Near Industrial Plants

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

THE Grand Bahama Environmental Association will hold its first "Industrial Plant Residents Day" on the grounds of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lewis Yard on Saturday, August 19.

Bertram Pinder, president of the GBEA, said the event would bring residents of the communities surrounding the industrial plants together in solidarity for a day of food, education, health screenings, and fun and games.

A mini-conference on health and environmental safety will take place from 10am-12.30pm and those attending will hear from an environmental scientist and health professional.

Iram Lewis, the MP for Central Grand Bahama, is also expected to speak, and the association has extended an invitation to Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.

"This event will give the residents a time of fellowship, to share information on their health and safety, and for the children to have some fun," said Mr Pinder.

Health screening for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol will take place from 12.30pm-2.30pm by personnel from Grand Bahama Health Services. There will be a cook-out from 12.30pm-3pm and tickets are available at all Subway stores.

The entire Grand Bahama community is invited to attend and support the event.

Mr Pinder stressed that the association would continue to pursue its goal, which is the relocation of residents of the areas that surround the industrial plants.

"We continue to suffer from the pollution from the industrial plants," he said.

The GBEA/Pinder's Point/Lewis Yard Environmental Committee believes that the chemical emissions from the nearby industrial facilities have affected the health of residents for over 30 years. Three schools have been relocated from the area.

There have been complaints of respiratory problems, skin, eyes and nose irritations, and nausea and vomiting.

It is also believed the alleged pollution is the cause of the high incidents of cancer among residents in those areas.

Former ambassador to the United States Maurice Moore, a resident of Pinder's Point, recently announced that he has cancer and believes prolonged exposure to industrial pollution may be the cause.

In December 2015, a year-long environmental and health risk assessment study was completed by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the affected communities. The study, which was undertaken by the Christie administration, concluded that there were no health risks to the resident living near the industrial plants.

The study also recommended the installation of e-noses in the affected communities to monitor air quality and that a safety risk assessment is conducted.

THE GBEA and the residents have rejected the findings by PAHO and WHO. They were not happy with the results of the final draft of the safety risk assessment, conducted by the Antea Group of the Netherlands, and e-nose studies that were also completed last year.

Shuffel Hepburn, a GBEA member, claims that the studies do not adequately address the actual extent of the safety risks and the dangers to residents posed by the nearby industrial businesses, and a possible catastrophic event.

They claim that e-nose devices are installed too high and are not monitoring the actual air breathed by the residents.

The affected communities are Pinder's Point, Seaco Town, Lewis Yard, Hawksbill, Wellington Pinder Heights Subdivision, Hunters, and Mack Town.

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