STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Local residents and business leaders have formed the Bermuda Clean Air Coalition (BCAC), an activist group, aimed at bringing awareness of the grave implications caused by BELCO’s stacks and machinery to the public and BELCO’s staff, management, owners and shareholders.  With the recent sale of BELCO, it is even more imperative that the company address these issues before the new owners are straddled with an outraged community and legal implications.

 

RECENT EVENTS

For the several months, images of pollution from BELCO’s stacks have littered social media.  While the images are devastating, the reality for residents near the plant is far worse.  The pollution from the stacks and vibration from the machinery, impacts homes, schools and businesses, creating visible signs of contamination and compromised structural integrity.  

Living in this toxic space has subjected residents to: 

  • Black and metal (rust) soot particles the size of a quarter or larger, scattered across yards, cars and most importantly on roof tops, which ultimately makes its way into water tanks.
  • Tank water polluted to the extent were showering affects the skin causing unexplained itching and in some cases rashes.
  • Cracks to walls, rooves, tanks and driveways from the unsettling vibration coming from BELCO’s plant.
  • The acrid and constant smell of diesel that somehow finds its way through closed doors and windows, leaving few choices for outside activity.

 

IMPACT

Although the greatest impact may affect area residents, imaging shows that BELCO’s pollution regularly travels in the form of anthropogenic clouds over the parishes of St George’s, Devonshire, Paget, Warwick and Southampton.  The clouds often form into an anthropogenic (manmade) “Morgan Ghost” cloud formation.  The anthropogenic clouds either form into or influence the development of rainstorms.  This is the basic formula to produce Acid Rain.  

The general area of the City of Hamilton may be the second most heavily affected area.  This is based on the observed development of anthropogenic clouds hanging over the City.  Within a radius of less than a mile from BELCO’s plant there are seven schools, West Pembroke Primary, Northlands Primary, Berkeley Institute, Bermuda High School for Girls, Saltus Grammar, Dellwood Middle and Victor school Primary.  There are also nursery schools, community centers, sporting clubs, playgrounds and other places that children and families from across the island attend. The issue of BELCO’s pollution and damage is an island wide problem which even area Ministers, Premier David Burt and Jason Hayward, have recognized.  

 

HISTORY

For decades, BELCO’s plant has affected Bermuda.  There are documented letters of complaint that have been sent to BELCO Management as far back as 42 years ago!  The addition of yet another fossil fuel plant in 2020, has only exacerbated the problem. Residents were assured that operations at the new North Plant would be cleaner burning, with the utilization of cleaner fuels, but were never informed of the explosive properties associated with such fuels; hence the cleaner fuel is not being used and the island is stuck with a new smoke stack that is no cleaner than the first two.   

At a community meeting in 2007, Vince Ingham, then President and CEO of Ascendant Group said that the volume of toxic ash being ejected out of BELCO’s two main stacks would fill 100 shipping containers per month.  With the third stack recently coming online this year, the volume of toxic ash being dumped on the community will only have increased.  As long as heavy diesel oil is burned without scrubbers or filters, the issue of pollution in the community can never be resolved.  

 

EVIDENCE

Available scientific evidence shows a strong causal link between air pollution (especially nanoparticles smaller than 2.5 microns, caused by the burning of fuel) and chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.  Exposure to nanoparticles was the fifth most common cause of death in 2015 globally, resulting in the deaths of 4.2 million people.   Air pollution can cause reduced cognitive function over time and is increasingly recognized as a leading cause of cancer.  All effects of air pollution disproportionately impact the elderly and medically vulnerable.

Area residents and business leaders are far beyond the limits of their patience, as such they are insisting on a meeting with BELCO’s Board to discuss their malfeasance forthwith.  The Bermuda Clean Air Coalition is demanding change from BELCO and its parent companies for the health and safety of all of Bermuda’s residents

 

CONCERNS

The Coalition’s clear points of concern are:

  • Soot and chemical deposits on roofs, vehicles, soil
  • Contamination of water tanks
  • Frequent strong smell of fumes preventing outdoor activity
  • Impact on physical and mental health
  • Impact on children at local schools
  • Devaluation of property
  • Liability of nearby businesses to their customers

 

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The Bermuda Clean Air Coalition aims to ensure that: 

  • BELCO publicly releases all historical emissions data and environmental impact data
  • BELCO release all current and future data in real time making it as accessible as usage on the monthly BELCO bill
  • There is an assessment of BELCO’s compliance with local and international standards and an improvement of Bermuda’s Clean Air Act if required
  • Bermuda adopts EU-level emissions standards
  • There is an assessment of the extent of damages caused by BELCO’s plant to the island and immediate area  
  • Extensive measures by BELCO to mitigate emissions
  • BELCO compensates damage to property of area residents
  • BELCO install quality water filtration systems on affected tanks of area residents
  • There are ongoing studies of the impact of the BELCO plant on the health, water, and environmental consequences of the company’s plant

We all value electricity, we all need electricity but Bermuda’s residents' health and wellbeing should not be compromised in order to have it.  

 

RESOURCES

Heavy Metals in Bermuda Tank Sediment

Heavy Fuel Oil Factsheet

Air Pollution Health Effects

Clean Air Coalition Aims To Bring Awareness

Greenrock Commend Clean Air Coalition

 

CONTACT DETAILS

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