Belco welcomes Government’s commitment to update air quality laws
Power company Belco has welcomed a Throne Speech commitment by the Government to update air quality legislation.
Wayne Caines, the utility firm’s president, added that residents must work together to tackle pollution.
He said: “Belco is committed to providing safe, reliable energy to the people and businesses of Bermuda.
“Of course, we do have challenges operating a fossil-fuel plant so close to residential and business properties, but our dedicated team works tirelessly to do everything they can do to minimise impacts on the community and improve our operations.
“However, we must work together as a community to combat air pollution from all sources such as vehicles and other sources of airborne emissions that are the largest contributor to climate change.
“Together we can work to build a cleaner, greener future for Bermuda.”
A spokesman explained: “Belco currently operates air quality monitoring stations in several locations around the Serpentine Road plant.
“While one of the monitoring stations located on private property on Ocean Lane was removed in June, Belco is working with the Environmental Authority and Department of Environment and Natural Resources to identify a suitable alternative location for the unit to monitor down drafting in that area.”
He highlighted remarks made by Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, who said studies suggested that the “most pervasive” contaminants of clean air were not from Belco stacks or the Tynes Bay waste to energy plant but from cars.
The power company spokesman said: “Belco welcomes island-wide air quality monitoring to further improve the island’s data collection of air contaminants.
“This increased monitoring will assist Bermuda in making informed decisions and driving actions to reduce the impacts of air pollution for all residents on the island.
“In particular the capturing of vehicular pollution will help to drive immediate actions as described by the minister, such as the electrification of vehicles which will help to significantly improve air quality for all of Bermuda’s residents.”
Earlier this week, Mr Roban said he hoped funding for an air-monitoring programme, which fell victim to budget cuts, can be reinstated later “if the finance ministry allows”.
He explained that the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences had carried out the checks at sites on behalf of the Government.
The Royal Gazette reported in August that a 9 per cent cut to the home affairs ministry budget resulted in the shutdown of the programme that cost $230,000.
Air-monitoring stations at East Broadway, Prospect Devonshire, near the Tynes Bay plant, and St George’s – a control site – were affected