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EMA tackles illegal quarrying

THE Environmental Management Authority (EMA) will co-ordinate state agencies to curb environmental ruin by illegal quarrying and squatting in northeast Trinidad.

After two recent stories by Newsday on environmental ruin at Toco, and condemnation by Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, the EMA yesterday issued a statement promising action.

The statement said the EMA recently did surveillance of areas in north-eastern Trinidad being ruined by illegal quarrying and squatting.

“Officers from the EMA’s Environmental Police Unit (EPU) conducted assessments of areas within the Melajo Forest Reserve and along the Toco Old Road.

“There was evidence of excavation works conducted and in progress at sites along the Toco Old Road. The EMA is continuing its investigations with respect to those areas which appear to be subjected to illegal squatting.”

The EMA said it is a member of the Minerals Advisory Committee and will co-ordinate a joint agency investigation into quarrying along the Toco Old Road.

“To properly address the issue of alleged illegal squatting within the Melajo Forest Reserve and other areas, the EMA will need to co-ordinate follow-up activities with several relevant agencies, including the Forestry Division and the Land Settlement Agency.”

It promised updates as the investigation proceeds.

“The EMA gives the assurance that it will initiate enforcement action pursuant to the Environmental Management Act, Chapter 35:05 and its subsidiary legislation to address any illegal activity in the Melajo Forest Reserve.”

The public is asked assist the EMA and other agenciesby sending any relevant information via text messages to its emergency response mobile 680-9588 or by e-mailing: complaints@ema.co.tt.

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