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Gibraltar political party calls for review on bunkering impact on public health

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Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD) has called on the government to conduct a detailed review of practices in the bunkering industry to assess its impact on public health.

Trevor Hammond, GSD spokesman for the environment, noted that air quality has been a subject of concern for some time and this issue has been raised with the government on numerous occasions.

“Ship’s bunkers is an area for concern not only because the ships themselves produce very polluting emissions from their engines, but because the activity also produces fumes from volatile organic compounds, in particular benzene, which is a known carcinogen and can cause other health related issues. In certain weather conditions these fumes do reach shore and do affect extensive areas of our community,” Hammond said.

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Hammond said GSD urged the government to have the relevant authorities conduct a detailed assessment of the industry to ensure that best practices are being applied and to determine improvements to minimise the impact on public health.

“An example might be to discontinue the use of certain anchorages close to shore in order to allow any fumes produced more opportunity to dissipate or to not allow bunkering in certain anchorages in certain weather conditions if these are known to bring fumes towards residential areas,” he said.

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