Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Smelter will bring grief to Trinis

Letter to the Editor
Trinidad Express
March 28, 2006

I have been trying to follow the controversy concerning the projected Alcoa smelter in south Trinidad.

Although it is many years since I worked in Trinidad, my wife and I are regular visitors.

This new situation reminds me of the ways in which products banned in North America were dumped on the retail market in Trinidad. For instance: kettles soldered with lead, washing preparations containing chemicals dangerous to the nervous system and grossly inadequate auto tyres and batteries.

Now we could have a more dangerous type of dumping. Aluminium smelters in North America are being closed down for environmental and health reasons. The residues of the smelting process are dangerous fumes and pot liner waste. Pot liner waste is notoriously difficult to get rid of even in the US.

Consider energy. Rich countries are always eager to gain access to the natural resources of other countries. T&T's energy resources are already being depleted to satisfy the greedy unsupportable lifestyles of Americans.

Aluminium smelting will require vast amounts of natural gas, acquired at cheap rates, to smelt the ore. But won't Trinidadians ever need this finite resource for themselves?

No. This is not sustainable development. It will defile a beautiful part of the island-but this does not seem to matter to the businesses and companies hoping to benefit.

Really, are you willing to sell your birthright for a mess of pot liner waste?

 John Jepson



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