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JM | Aug 5, 2022

Windalco to face consequences over recent chemical spill, vows PM

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

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Water hyacinth plants over the surface of a section of the Rio Cobre in St Catherine following the most recent caustic spill that caused a mass killing of local fish and tainted the water supply for days. (Photo: Twitter @dmccaulay)

Windalco is facing consequences for the recent chemical spill that led to a fish kill at the Rio Cobre in St Catherine.

The spill took place between July 26 and August 4 and was a result of caustic effluent, otherwise known as industrial waste.

In a statement released today (August 5) Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the recent incident is “wholly unacceptable and is inconsistent with the standards Jamaica has set for environmental management and protection”.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

He noted that the National Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) has “written to the bank holding the Environmental Performance Bond (EPB) posted by Windalco to receive the full amount in favour of the NRCA”.

The EPB has 115 billion from Windalco that the Government can use to address the damages of breaches and environmental impacts.

Holness said Windalco has also been directed by NRCA to replenish the bond once the drawdown is completed.

ROOT CAUSE: Pictured here is the caustic substance emanating from a nearby pond owned and operated by Windalco in Ewarton, St Catherine. (Photo: Twitter @dmccaulay)

The National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA) will also serve the company with a Notice of Intention to suspend the environmental permits and licenses.

There will also be legal action taken against Windalco for breaches of the Wild Life Protection Act (WLPA) and the NRCA.

Holness added that he was “committed to the people of Jamaica that the amendments required to increase fines and penalties for environmental breaches will come to Parliament within the upcoming months, to ensure they are appropriate and sufficient to function as a deterrent”.

NEPA has been directed by Holness to further inform the public on the incident.

READ: Prime Minister Andrew Holness | Windalco to be prosecuted over Rio Cobre fish kill

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