The Environmental Safety Group

Earth Hour 2012

Against a growing number of environmental news stories becoming a more regular feature in our day to day lives, I thought I would start by briefly revisiting Earth Hour which took place last Saturday. Gibraltar supported the event which, at a global level, was a major success with accounts on the EarthHour.org website of major corporations in the States taking collective action to entire countries in Asia participating in their thousands, clearly illustrating the appeal that this simple, yet inspiring campaign is having around the world. As an environmental group we call attention to this campaign as it reminds us all of the need to value the huge benefits of having energy online, how this has transformed our lives, the impact this is having on climate change and how we all need to shift our 2012 status onto a more sustainable footing.

How we achieve this is by paying attention to our personal impact and as a community to set in motion concrete steps to reduce our carbon footprint and embrace greener technologies and practices. Through a number of mtgs we have held to date with both Ministers and technical advisers to Govt, we know these issues are high on agendas. What we now need is for a time frame and detailed information to be made publicly available so that the community is informed of the positive actions Gibraltar will be taking shortly towards the road of sustainability. We shall certainly be watching this very closely.

Power Station Pollution

One of the issues which we face from members of the public on a daily basis and which we are taking up with Govt is the intolerable and illegal levels of pollution from the power stations. This, possibly, above all, is the main driver for the urgency the new Govt faces in deciding the alternatives to a new fossil fuelled power station which it cancelled. The ESG is writing to Govt requesting for interim action to be taken to reduce air pollution. This was a condition placed on the permit issued to OESCO back in 2007 to allow it to operate under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive. It called for scrubbers and taller stacks to help reduce and aid dispersal of toxic emissions away from residential areas. This important measure was never enforced because of the advised completion date of the new power station, then at 2010. Here almost halfway through 2012 and emissions are worse and growing. Something needs to be done, and done soon.

MEP Sir Graham Watson visits Gibraltar

The local press has reported on MEP Graham Watson’s recent visit to Gibraltar. The ESG held a meeting with Sir Watson and discussed matters of concern to our group which includes Western Beach and the European Commission, the massive Fuel Tank Farm in Algeciras, Sea Bed raking and the CEPSA Oil Refinery. We settled on a number of proposed actions for the next few months. As always, extremely grateful to Sir Watson for the hard work he carries out for us in Brussels.

Fishing issues

While highly mindful of the sensitivities of the current discussions on enforcement of the Nature Protection Act in Gibraltar, we reiterate our support to all those involved directly in seeking to improve the situation to protect our marine ecosystems. We are concerned, however, that at a European level, waters are rather muddied, if you’ll excuse the pun. While seeking to protect our own environment, the EC is giving out permits to Spanish fishermen within Andalucía to proceed to rake seabeds outside of the limit zones it itself has set to ensure survivability of marine species…… This is a story we focused on in a recent press release which you can find on our website, and it strongly highlights the need for MEP’s like Sir Graham Watson to help fight these battles in Brussels.

Clean up the World

Will shortly be launching its 2012 campaign. We are holding back contacting teams and sponsors until such time as we are fully briefed by the global organisers. We should have this information available for our next radio broadcast but you are most welcome to register with us in the meantime. Email: esg@gibtelecom.net , tel: 200-48996 or mobile 54960000.

Visit the ESG website www.esg-gib.net/

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