In March 1995, the Environmental Management Act No.3 was passed. 

It was later repealed and re-enacted as the Environmental Management Act (EM Act), Chapter 35:05 of 2000.  The EM Act is legislation with the goal of ensuring the protection, conservation, enhancement and wise use of the environment of Trinidad and Tobago. 

The EM Act established the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and provided for its composition, administration, financing and role.  To give effect to the many provisions of the EM Act, subsidiary legislation is required and this is being put in place by the EMA.  The EM Act also provides for an Environmental Trust Fund and the establishment of a tribunal, known as the Environmental Commission, a superior court of record that hears appeals on decisions taken by the EMA.

What is an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.

During the assessment of these applications, the Authority takes into consideration foreseeable impacts which may arise out of any new or significantly modified construction, process, works or other activity as outlined by the Order. At the preliminary phase of the assessment of the proposed project, if potential significant environmental and human health impacts have been identified, the applicant may be asked to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The EIA is a study which identifies the likely effects the project as whole may have on the environment and society (Rule 10 (e) of the Certificate of Environmental Clearance Rules, 2001. An Environmental Impact Assessment is a tool which assists in the decision making process.

The EIA process involves a systematic, reproducible, and interdisciplinary evaluation of the potential physical, biological, cultural, and socioeconomic effects of a proposed action and its practical alternatives. Proposed actions may include projects, programs, policies, or plans. As a decision making tool, EIA provides a means for decision makers to better integrate environmental, human health and socio-economic concerns as it relates to the environment. It provides the opportunity for all stakeholders involved in a proposed action, including the public, to participate in the identification of issues of concern, practical alternatives, and to identify opportunities to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts.

The process begins with a decision to proceed with EIA and involves:

  • The implementation of plans for public participation and stakeholder involvement,
  • Documentation of purpose and need,
  • Scoping of important issues and interests in the proposed action as well as its alternatives,
  • Development of baseline information on the natural and human environments,
  • Assessment of impacts and development of a decision making document,
  • A plan for the mitigation of impacts

The information contained in the EIA report will be used in the decision-making process to determine whether or not a CEC will be granted for the proposed project. If a CEC is granted, a Certificate will be issued which will contain appropriate mitigation and monitoring measures to ensure compliance.

Air Pollution

The Air Pollution Rules, 2014 (APR) is legislation developed under the Environmental Management Act Chapter 35:05. Through the APR, the EMA seeks to manage the levels of specific air pollutants known to cause harm to human health and the environment, thereby improving overall air quality. To this end, prescribed standards for air pollutants in Ambient Air (Schedule 1) and for the release of air pollutants at distinct points (Schedule 2) have been established.

The APR is administered by two major processes:

  1. Source Registration – the process whereby the owner/operator of a facility emitting or intending to emit air pollutants submits an application for the facility to be registered with the EMA and pays the prescribed fee. All Fees payable under the APR are outlined in the Air Pollution (Fees) Regulations, 2014. Details of the facility’s operation, including the location and characteristics of the air pollutants being or anticipated to be emitted, are required in the application, among other things. The information gathered during this phase is used to create an inventory of the nation’s air pollutant sources, and the types and quantities of air pollutants released into the atmosphere and the receiving environment. The Registrant is issued with a Source Emitter Registration Certificate.
  1. Permitting – after a Source Emitter Registration Certificate has been issued, the EMA may notify a Registrant to apply for an Air Pollution Permit (APP). The purpose of the APP is to control the types and quantity of air pollutants emitted into the atmosphere, with the purpose of protecting ambient air quality. A permit is valid for a period of up to five years and requires the holder of the permit to implement measures to reduce the impact of their emissions and monitor such emissions for compliance with Schedule 1 and/or Schedule 2 of the APR.
In accordance with the Air Pollution Rules, 2014 Sub-rule 4(1) and 4(2), every operator who operates an emitter facility or intends to release any substance in excess of the permissible levels is required to be registered with the EMA as a source emitter. 
 

Noise Pollution

The Noise Pollution Control Rules, 2001 (NPCR) is a piece of legislation created under provisions of the Environmental Management Act Chapter 35:05. Through the NPCR, the EMA seeks to control levels of noise pollution in various environments for the benefit of all.

The NPCR sets prescribed standards for noise and controls the emission of sounds in the environment which are considered to be noise pollution.

The NPCR refers to a ‘Variation’ as a deviation from the prescribed standards or sound levels. Once approval is granted, this document allows for the applicant to vary from the prescribed standards, but also limits the level of sound that can be emitted.
Outside of the NPCR, there are over ten pieces of legislation that equip the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service with the powers to address the issue of noise pollution.

Click here for further Noise information

What is a CEC (Certificate of Environmental Clearance)

The Certificate of Environmental Clearance Rules, 2001 is a piece of legislation generated from the Environmental Management Act Chapter 35:05. The‘Rules’ guides the assessment of small and large-scale developmental projects which may have both positive and negative environmental effects.

The Certificate of Environmental Clearance (Designated Activities) Order, 2001, as amended defines the forty-four (44) activities which require a CEC. During the assessment of these applications, the Authority takes into consideration foreseeable impacts which may arise out of any new or significantly modified construction, process, works or other activity as outlined by the Order.

At the preliminary phase of the assessment of the proposed project, if potential significant environmental and human health impacts have been identified, the applicant may be asked to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Click here for further CEC information

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