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Environment Ministry official: Dredging rivers can ease flooding in PoS
Flooding in Port-of-Spain can be partially alleviated by dredging rivers, but such projects have not yet begun because of bureaucracy. This was the opinion of Vijai Lal, head of the Project Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
He was speaking on Thursday night during a public consultation hosted by the ministry at the East Mucurapo Government Secondary School, Mucurapo Road, St James. The consultation focused on the proposed Port-of-Spain flood alleviation and drainage programme, which is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.
After making a detailed presentation on the flood plan, Lal responded to questions from the few members of the public who turned out. One member of the audience said the plan looked good on paper, but asked why the simpler solution of dredging rivers such as the St Ann’s and Maraval Rivers was not already put in place.
The flood plan is estimated to cost US$120 million and entails extensive drainage work throughout Port-of-Spain and environs, institutional strengthening of the Drainage Division and other related bodies and the creation of a linear park.
Lal said dredging was one of the minor works included in a much larger plan and added that he has already sought approval for dredging projects in Port-of-Spain. He said that a proposal to implement dredging was being drafted, but needed to be engineered and receive funding in terms of a loan from the bank.
He said he recognised that river mouths posed a “monumental problem” and that the issue was of top priority to the flood plan. He said there were times when development was hampered by unwillingness to change the environment. Lal pointed to a highway in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, which was built over a lagoon. He said that in the US, they figured out ways to work around the environment and that T&T needed to do the same.
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